The Hybrid Dilemma

What does seem certain is that the most common hybrid approach, converting a standard vehicle by adding fancy batteries and an electric motor, creates even less excitement than the minivan did, writes columnist Jerry Flint.

Published: 17-Jul-2007

Toyota Motor's Hybrid Prius is a big success. In June, the company sold 17,756 of these cars, bringing sales to 94,503 units for the first half of the year.

The Prius is a winner; but that's not the case for Toyota's (nyse: TM - news - people )other hybrids. Prius accounts for two-thirds of Toyota's sales volume in hybrids, even though the company makes five other hybrid vehicles, three of which it sells under its luxury Lexus brand.

Honda Motor (nyse: HMC - news - people ), one of the pioneers in hybrid technology, recently announced that it was dropping its Accord hybrid. Its Civic hybrid six-month sales, which equal 17,141, are fewer than Prius sales for the month of June alone.


Automaker must have hybrids despite expense and doubtful benefit - GM 'product czar'

Packing 260 hp (191 kW) from the 2.0-liter turbo BioPower engine and a total of 148 kW from its three electric motors, the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept provides significantly greater torque than its gasoline-only equivalent.

Automotive columnist James R. Healey test drives the 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid and finds that with the tax credit -- which just got cut in half -- the price difference vanishes.


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