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Hybrids: ahead of the game


As you may know, I drive a Toyota Prius Toyota Prius, and have had it since 2002. What's novel about this car is that it's a hybrid, and has both a petrol and electric engine under the covers, which it blends seamlessly between the two.

As well as certain benefits -- like 40mpg fuel economy -- it's very environmentally friendly, with a tax break on road tax since (relatively speaking) it gives out so little CO2 when compared with a normal car. It's also exempt from the London congestion charge :-)

Now that the price of oil is rising so rapidly, a number of people are considering switching to hybrids, even in America (where the cost of fuel is a lot less than it is in the UK). And it's starting to become trendier to own a hybrid; I'm now the second person I know to own a Prius, and someone else owns a Lexus 400h (hybrid SUV).

It turns out that Toyota (who own Lexus, incidentally) have also launched a Toyota Highlander Hybrid in the states, with other hybrids in the works (including a Camry, which is very similar to the 'old' Prius). In fact, they're betting the shop on hybrids, and plan to offer a range of hybrid options across their range, in much the same way that a competitor might offer a choice of diesel or petrol vehicles.

Of course, as my brother says, this is all a step towards fuel cell vehicles, but the age of the hybrid has begun ...