Toyota’s hybrid plans.

Toyota’s hybrid plans.

Over the next decade Toyota’s Prius may become known as the grandfather of the growing family of hybrid electric vehicles. Major news sources indicate that by 2012 all of Toyota’s vehicles will be hybrid electric. (Though it is not clear whether hybrid drive will be an option or standard equipment on all models.)

Already the successful – and profitable – Prius is joined in the Japanese domestic market with other Toyota hybrids: the Crown mild-hybrid full-size sedan, the Estima hybrid minivan, and hybrid passenger buses. Additional hybrids for the U.S. market, possibly the Estima, could be announced on the 2003 auto show circuit . Other news sources indicate that the company could have 10 hybrid models as soon as 2005. The company, too, plans to sell 300,000 hybrids per year by 2007. To date the company has sold about 36,000 Prius sedans in the U.S., more than 100,000 worldwide.

I own a Prius, and it’s an amazing car. Toyota and Honda are way ahead of other automakers on hybrids. Our auto industry is still talking about doing one while Toyota has had them in Japan for six years now.

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