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Dave Hermance, the lead engineer of Toyota's hybrid vehicle development in the U.S., died on Saturday when his small plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles. He was instrumental in bringing the Prius to the U.S., and his passing is a blow to Toyota's hybrid vehicle program.
A 2005 Sony Classics movie, Who Killed The Electric Car? alleged there was a conspiracy surrounding the death of the all-battery powered automobile, with oil companies as chief suspects. There is no indication of foul play in the Hermance crash.