Toyota has announced that it will start using a new smaller, cheaper and more efficient hybrid system in 2008. Batteries would be lighter yet it would be more powerful than the current version of the Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) used in the Prius, Highlander hybrid and Lexus RX400h, and what will probably be used in the 2007 Camry hybrid (though that system will surely show improvements on the current one too). Toyota will also start to build key components for hybrid systems in the US, in addition to those currently made in Japan. "Toyota will double the annual output of hybrid systems, reducing the manufacturing cost difference between such systems and conventional gasoline engines. By making the system smaller than the current second-generation system, Toyota will also expand the use of the system to most of its mid-size or larger cars, according to the paper."
Toyota expects to build and sell about 250,000 hybrid vehicles this year through its eight model offerings.
Next year, that will rise to between 350,000 and 400,000 units, boosted by the addition of the Camry hybrid to be built in Kentucky from the latter half of 2006, and the China-built Prius, production of which has been targeted to begin by this year.
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