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Toyota, Coda to Bring New Electric-Powered Vehicles to Market

Toyota will soon begin selling a diesel hybrid lift truck that cuts fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions in half.

The Geneo-Hybrid, which Toyota calls the world’s first internal combustion hybrid lift truck, will debut in Japan later this year, but the company hasn’t decided when it will enter the U.S. market.

Toyota Industries Corp.
, the company’s lift truck manufacturing arm, adapted Toyota’s existing hybrid technology used in the ever-popular Prius to match the needs of this commercial vehicle -- lots of starting and stopping and the ability to travel with a load.

The company views hybrids as the best type of green vehicle for the near future, Masatami Takimoto, Toyota’s executive vice president, told reporters Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Prius became Japan’s top selling vehicle last month and the company plans have a hybrid version of its entire product lineup by 2020.

It’s also moving forward with plans to lease 500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) in the U.S., Japan and Europe later this year, but Takimoto commented that battery technology still has a long way to go until electric vehicles become mainstream. Other automakers, however, are more optimistic about the near-term prospects of electric vehicles.

A newly formed company called Coda Automotive, for example, made headlines yesterday when it announced it would introduce a four-door mid-sized all-electric sedan to California next fall.
The all-electric Coda sedan will debut in California in 2010.
Image courtesy of Coda

The Coda sedan will cost $45,000, although state and federal incentives are expected to lower the cost to the mid-$30,000s. Its driving range will span between 90 and 120 miles and it can be fully recharged in less than six hours using a 220-volt standard outlet, or two hours for 40 miles. Coda estimates driving its sedan 100 miles will cost less than $3, compared to $17 for a vehicle with fuel economy of 20 miles per gallon.

Coda formed a long-term joint venture with Chinese-based lithium-ion cell manufacturer Tianjin Lishen Battery, while state-owned Hafei will build the sedans in China. The company will also cut out the middleman by avoiding brick-and-mortar dealerships and sell all vehicles directly to consumers online.

Images courtesy of Toyota Industrial Corp. and Coda Automotive.

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