TOKYO — For those who thought that only Hollywood celebrities and the Birkenstock-wearing crowd drive hybrid cars, Toyota has introduced one that costs as much as four years of tuition at a private college. Enter the Lexus LS luxury sedan, the hybrid version, and at $124,000 its most expensive gasoline-electric vehicle yet.
Toyota Motor Corp., which introduced its first hybrid, the Prius, 10 years ago, sold about 300,000 hybrids worldwide last year, and it plans to sell a million hybrids a year sometime after 2010. Although all the world's automakers are working on hybrids, Japan's No. 1 automaker has dozens of patents on the technology and has sold more hybrids than any other automaker.
The most common hybrids today switch between a gas engine and electric motor to deliver better mileage and reduce emissions that cause global warming. But Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said the technology for hybrid systems can be applied to power other types of vehicles, which run on fuel other than gas, including biofuels and hydrogen.
Source: Detroit News; Associated Press