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Environmentally, hybrids emit only half the carbon dioxide of gasoline engines. Toyota was the first automaker in the world to mass-produce and sell hybrid cars, introducing the Prius in 1997. The model has sold 130,000 cars a year worldwide, including two other models that are only sold in Japan. In early January, 2004, Toyota's Prius sedan was voted North American Car of the Year.
So far, Toyota and Honda are the only companies selling "mass-market" hybrids in the world. Honda had sold 37,000 hybrids worldwide by April of 2003. According to Reuters' Chang-Ran Kin: "Honda plans to start selling a hybrid version of its flagship Accord this autumn, while Toyota's Lexus brand will launch the world's first luxury hybrid, the RX400h, this year." Reportedly, the Lexus RX400h will have 20% more power than the gasoline powered RX330. Additionally, it will have a range of 600 miles on a tank of gasoline. Meanwhile. Japan's Corporate News Network announced that Mazda is adding an electric 4WD model in its Demio Series. The company plans to sell 7,000 units per month.
While Japan continues to work on mass market models of EVs, engineer and designers there are also working on ever more impressive line of sporty and luxury models. The Eliica electric car, still only a prototype, can climb up to a speed of about 100mph in 7 seconds and reach a top speed of 400kmph. A brain child of Prof. Hiroshi Shimizu, Keio University, the car was produced with the help of a team of students.
Originally posted by Cyprex
The GM EV1 was awesome. But pressure from those who are connected to big oil helped kill it. Even at a BMW prices, it would, especially now, sell like mad!