Honda and Toyota announce new hybrid carsCR-Z and Auris hybrids get the green light

17 July 2009

Toyota Auris hybrid

The hybrid Auris will be Toyota's cheapest petrol-electric car

Toyota and Honda have this week confirmed plans to build new hybrid models.

Honda has designs on producing the first hybrid sports car, while Toyota has announced the new Auris hybrid will be built here in the UK.

New Toyota Auris Hybrid

Toyota has today announced that it will build a ‘full hybrid’ version of the Auris at its UK factory in Deeside, North Wales.

The news coincides with a visit to Deeside by UK First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills Lord Mandelson. It highlights not only Toyota’s desire to expand its hybrid offerings in the European marketplace, but also reaffirms the Japanese manufacturer’s commitment to building cars in the UK.

Details about the car itself are so far scarce. But in describing it as a ‘full hybrid’ Toyota is saying it will use a similar system to the ‘Hybrid Synergy Drive’ in the . Essentially, this means the Auris will be able to run on batteries only for short periods of time.

This is in contrast to Honda’s ‘Integrated Motor Assist’ (IMA) hybrid system, which uses the electric motor to boost the petrol engine’s performance rather than offering completely emissions-free driving.

Toyota says the new Auris Hybrid will be it’s most affordable hybrid yet. We will bring you more details as soon as we have them.

Honda CR-Z first sporty hybrid?

Honda CR-Z hybrid concept

Honda is to build the smart-suited hybrid CR-Z

Speaking of Honda’s IMA hybrid system, the company’s new Chief Executive Officer, Takanobu Ito, this week confirmed that a will go on sale in Japan next February.

This project - first shown as a concept at the Tokyo motor show in 2007 - has been on and off the cards for the past several months as Honda struggled with the current economic crisis. It’s therefore slightly surprising to hear it will be ready for market as soon as the beginning of 2010.

A spiritual successor to Honda CRX models of the past, it seems the CR-Z has become commercially possible due to the impressive success of the . Demand has been so strong in Japan that Honda is increasing manufacturing capacity to meet it.

No word on performance or environmental figures for the CR-Z, but should it come to Europe - as we would hope - it will compete against the increasingly effective ranks of turbodiesel sportscars now available.

An IMA version of the is also in the pipeline, but only in ‘the next few years.’


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