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Toyota May Offer Diesel and NG Hybrids

August 24, 2004

According to a senior executive, Toyota may market diesel or natural gas hybrid automobiles, reports Bloomberg News, as reported by Weststart-CALSTART. In an interview in Tokyo, senior managing director Hiroyuki Watanabe said Toyota is "developing hybrid systems that can be used for gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and fuel cells, which will be the most fuel-efficient."Carmakers are spending billions of dollars to develop fuel-cell vehicles to meet tougher emissions laws and as population growth spurs auto demand. In the near term, gasoline electric hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic are making an important impact in both emissions and fuel efficiency. Toyota makes at least 10 kinds of diesel engines worldwide, fitting them in vehicles such as the Yaris and Corolla compact cars, Avensis sedans, RAV4 and Land Cruiser SUVs, and Hilux pickup trucks. Diesel-powered cars are very fuel efficient, and account for more than 40 percent of the European auto market. Natural gas fuels have been shown to work well in both conventional internal combustion and diesel engines, with much lower toxic exhaust and particulate matter emission levels. Merging fuel-efficient hybrid technology with cleaner, more efficient engines is viewed by many as a necessary next step to meeting increasing energy and emissions constraints, and provides a step toward fuel-cell transportation.
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