Although Toyota plans to introduce 11 new or modified hybrid vehicles by 2012, the auto manufacturer is hardly turn down the traditional internal combustion engine.
Takeshi Uchiyamada, executive vice president in charge of r&d, also wants to raise the fleet's fuel efficiency by putting turbochargers and direct fuel injection in smaller vehicles. "In the next five years, the general trend is downsizing of engines and the use of turbochargers," Uchiyamada said in an interview. "Another development will be direct fuel injection."
He said that turbos and direct fuel injection will be added in all Toyota's models - even in four-cylinder engines and models such as the Corolla and Camry.
"Eventually, we will see significant numbers of vehicles carrying engines with turbochargers," said Uchiyamada, who was chief engineer of the first-generation Prius.
Other changes will be related with the expanded use of idle-stop technology, which saves fuel by turning off the engine when the car comes to a standstill, and advances in variable valve systems.
Toyota will require the new technologies to stay ahead of intense competition from rivals such as Hyundai, which is trying to become a green car leader.
Of the eleven coming soon hybrids, four will be modification of existing hybrids. The other seven will be new models, either stand-alone hybrids or hybrid versions of vehicles that previously didn't have a gasoline-electric option, Uchiyamada said.
He expects Toyota's annual hybrid sales to hit 1 million units by 2015. In 2009, Toyota sold approximately 530,000 hybrids worldwide.