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

September 04, 2002

Toyota Teams with Nissan on Hybrid Vehicles; Ford Backs Off on TH!NK EVs

Toyota Motor Corporation announced on Monday that it is teaming up with Nissan Motor Company, Ltd. to produce hybrid electric vehicles. Initially, Toyota will supply Nissan with a hybrid system currently under development for use in Nissan vehicles to be sold in the United States in 2006. Nissan expects to sell 100,000 hybrid vehicles per year by 2011.

The partners plan to maintain a business relationship for 10 years or longer by sharing technical information and jointly developing hybrid electric components. Although Toyota is currently the largest producer of hybrid vehicles with cumulative sales of 120,000 vehicles, Nissan sold a limited number of Tino Hybrid models in 2000 and has operated a department to develop hybrid technologies since February 2001. See the Toyota press release.

Meanwhile, Ford Motor Company took a step backward by announcing that it will shut down its TH!NK electric vehicle (EV) division. Ford was producing a small neighborhood EV, the TH!NK Neighbor, in the United States, but the larger and more practical TH!NK City was only available through small pilot programs. Ford originally planned to sell the TH!NK City-a two-seater with a top speed of 56 miles per hour and a range of up to 53 miles-in the United States next year. The Ford decision directly affects Ballard Power Systems, which was to provide the electric drive system for the U.S. version of the TH!NK City, but Ballard claims the decision will not have an impact on its expected revenues for 2002. See the Ballard press release (PDF 34 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

For more information about TH!NK vehicles, see the TH!NK Web site.

The Ford announcement comes just as the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the Municipal Electric Utilities Association of New York State are launching a cooperative effort to promote EVs in the state. The organizations kicked off the effort with a showcase of several hybrid and electric vehicles, including a TH!NK Neighbor and a TH!NK City. The TH!NK City is currently being used in a trial program that leases the cars to rail commuters for their ride between home and the rail station. See the NYPA press release, the Long Island Power Authority press release, and the NYPA/TH!NK Clean Commute Program.