FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, December 03, 2004

Hybrids Branch Out

More car manufacturers are launching hybrid models. But is this truly the start of a new era in transportation technology, or is the auto industry simply jumping on the latest fad?

Toyota has announced that by 2008, they will unveil hybrid versions of every model they make, including Lexus models. Also, Chevrolet is introducing a hybrid version of its Silverado full-size pickup.

Some observers question whether a pickup is the best application of hybrid technology. The current Silverado design makes fairly little use of the electric motor, they say, and the fuel savings is negligible compared with the higher MSRP.

Nonetheless, it's encouraging to see the auto industry taking steps to embrace alternative power technologies. Even if these models aren't market blockbusters, they will help engineers learn how to build ever more fuel-efficient vehichles and prepare for a time when they will have no choice but to abandon traditional gasoline power.

Source: ZDNet