Toyota to Pursue ‘Plug-In’ Hybrid & Flex-Fuel Vehicles

In a recent speech before the National Press Club, Jim Press said that Toyota would be proactive in helping government solve the major environmental and auto safety issues confronting America. The president of Toyota Motor North America said that Toyota is considering a flex-fuel vehicle program in the U.S., and is pursuing a plug-in hybrid vehicle that would travel greater distances without using its gas engine, with the ultimate goal of conserving more oil, reducing smog and bringing greenhouse gases to near zero emissions levels.

“I believe the time is right to enlist the immense talent and might of our industry to help solve some of the key issues resulting from a car-loving world, including oil dependency, air pollution, traffic accidents and global warming,” Press added. International auto companies are helping to change the face and direction of the auto industry, Press pointed out. “In fact, international automakers have contributed almost all of the growth in the U.S. motor vehicle industry for the past 10 years, according to a study by the Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research.” “All major companies are looking for creative ways to meet the challenge of increasing competitive pressure and the escalating costs of developing new technologies,” Press said. Automakers must strike a balance in their line-ups, he said, from big trucks and SUVs to gas/electric hybrids, clean diesels, flex-fuel vehicles, plug-in hybrids and eventually hydrogen fuel cells. Currently, the company sells five Toyota or Lexus hybrids, including a Camry hybrid and a sixth, the world’s first V-8 hybrid in a Lexus LS Sedan, is due next year. He estimated that Toyota hybrids sold in America have saved more than 155 million gallons of gasoline, enough to fill five tanker ships and eliminate more than three billion pounds of greenhouse gases. “It’s time for us to stop being the ‘against’ industry and to come out strong ‘for’ something important, like a better earth and a better quality of life,” Press added.

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