More Hybrids Showing Up at Dealerships
Although it seems as if the 2004 models just rolled out, some 2005 vehicles are already arriving in showrooms and neighborhood driveways. Among the new offerings: more gas-electric hybrids in supersize packages meant to appeal to Americans' penchant for big, brawny vehicles.
Hybrids combine a traditional gasoline-powered piston engine with an electric motor -- or motors -- that, in turn, is powered by a battery. Only three gas-electric hybrids are on the road now -- the tiny, two-seat Honda Insight, the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius.
The Prius has generated more buzz than its hybrid compatriots. When Toyota introduced the bigger, more powerful Prius last fall, the car went from indie-star status to marquee player. Dealers had long waiting lists well before the car was delivered. Toyota quickly decided to boost production from 36,000 to 47,000 cars for the 2004 model year.
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