This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 26, 2006

Toyota to Pursue Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles and Consider Flex-Fuel Vehicles

Toyota Motor Corporation is pursuing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that would be capable of traveling greater distances without the use of its gasoline engine, according to a senior Toyota executive. In a speech on July 18th before the National Press Club, Jim Press, president of Toyota Motor North America, announced the plug-in hybrid work and also noted that Toyota's target is to offer hybrid options throughout its entire lineup of cars and trucks. In addition, the company is working to reduce the size of hybrid components by 75 percent. Toyota is also "strongly considering" introducing a flex-fuel vehicle (one capable of running on ethanol-rich blends of gasoline) in the United States. See the Toyota press release.

If Toyota does introduce a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV), it will be following the lead of the major U.S. automakers and one fellow Japanese automaker, Nissan. According to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC), Nissan began offering the Titan truck as an FFV in 2005 and plans to introduce an FFV version of the Armada sport utility vehicle as part of the 2007 model year. The NEVC says that Nissan plans on producing about 55,000 FFV Titans this year and plans to produce about 20,000 FFV Armadas in model year 2007. See the NEVC press release.