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

November 26, 2003

Hybrid Toyota Prius Named Motor Trend "Car of the Year"

Motor Trend magazine has named the hybrid-electric Toyota Prius as its 2004 Car of the Year. After weeks of exhaustive testing, the Motor Trend editors found the Toyota Prius to be "a user-friendly gas/electric hybrid capable of delivering an impressive 60 miles per gallon in city driving." According to Kevin Smith, Motor Trend's editor-in-chief, "We believe the performance, engineering advancements, and overall significance of the Toyota Prius merits the distinction of Motor Trend's Car of the Year. The Prius is a capable, comfortable, fun-to-drive car that just happens to get spectacular fuel economy. It also provides a promising look at a future where extreme fuel-efficiency, ultra-low emissions, and exceptional performance will happily coexist. That makes it meaningful to a wide range of car buyers."

Motor Trend magazine is part of Primedia, Inc. See the Primedia press release.

While domestic automakers are planning to introduce their own hybrid electric vehicles in the near future, they are also making substantial investments in less flashy energy-saving technologies. Ford Motor Company, for instance, is investing up to $325 million in two manufacturing plants, allowing them to build new rear-wheel-drive, six-speed automatic transmissions. According to Ford, the new transmissions will increase fuel economy by 4 to 8 percent relative to a four-speed automatic transmission. By 2008, Ford expects 60 percent of its vehicles to have either six-speed transmissions or continuously variable transmissions. See the Ford press release.