Hybrid Hot-rods and Heavy-haulers in the Pipeline

Hybrid-electric drives in SUVs, pickups and vans to offer Americans power they expect without gas guzzling

Published: 06-Jan-2004

The coming generation of gas-electric hybrid vehicles will be hot rods and heavy haulers as automakers try to jazz up their image and broaden their appeal.
"Hybrids won't be mainstream without performance," says Walter McManus, executive director of forecasting and analysis at J.D. Power and Associates. Hybrids have been considered underpowered, a compromise for fuel economy, "but they're addressing that."

Mainstreaming means high volume -- millions instead of thousands -- and that's what it will take to bring down the high cost of sophisticated batteries and other high-tech components of gasoline-electric powertrains.

"The potential is there," says Takeo Fukui, Honda CEO. "Cost is the bottleneck. Mass production should help."

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