Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hybrid cars the Toyota Prius the First Real Hybrid

By: lar

The Toyota Prius is probably the best known of the present crop of hybrid cars. In 1993 a commission under president Clinton established the aim of achieving the production of a car within a 10-year timescale that would be practical for the average family and would give fuel economy of 70-80 mpg. Toyota was not invited to participate in this as it was a foreign manufacturer and the hybrid cars project was primarily intended for American manufacturers.

Toyota decided that would not be left out and established their own research and development project into hybrid cars. Way ahead of the other manufacturers they unveiled a working model in 1995. They moved ahead with this and in the incredibly short space of just 2 years, had refined the original prototype of their hybrid cars into a full production model and introduced it to an increasingly environmentally aware public.

When it was first introduced in 1997 it the Toyota Prius hybrid car was intended to be mainly effective in reducing the amount of carbon and greenhouse gases that the car emitted. This was mainly to promote a cleaner environment in densely populated areas. These areas are often plagued by smog, one of the modern day by products of having a mobile population that prefers to travel in their own vehicle rather that using the publicly available transport network.

The model was introduced to the North American public for the first time in the summer of 2000 and was, due to a limited import stock, only available through an online ordering system. Despite this the demand was such that there were severe delays in delivery due to the enthusiasm for this new and innovative design.

In 2001 the original American hybrid cars project was discontinued and the major US manufacturers without the input of, and money from, the government, halted most of their research and development in this area. Toyota were now well positioned to take up the slack in the anticipated growth of the hybrid cars market and were already working on an updated and more efficient model to press home their advantage.

In 2004 the Toyota Prius hybrid car was awarded the greatest honor in American motoring and was chosen as the North American Car of the Year, the first time this award had been won by a hybrid car. This put the gold seal of approval on the model and, in part, ensured the success of the concept of hybrid cars as transportation for the average driver.

This was further established when fuel prices began to rise and the need for economy became greater. There is never a greater impetus to the success of a new and innovative product than that it can put money back in the pockets of the consumer.

Another financial impetus to the sales of hybrid cars came with tax breaks announced by the Washington administration to encourage the consumer towards cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Hybrid cars were seen as a double bonus for the whole population. First it promoted a cleaner environment and helped with reducing the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. It also was seen, if taken up by a significant amount of drivers, that hybrid cars could help reduce the consumers need for gas and so make the US more self sufficient in fuel production.

Before the introduction of the Toyota Prius, hybrid cars had not been widely available to the average car owner and were largely thought of as experimental and not practical for everyday motoring. The Toyota Prius changed all this, bringing the notion of a cleaner, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly hybrid cars within the grasp of the average consumer.

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Courtesy of:Asian_daily