Share This!
Text SizeAAA Share Email

The Technology and Potential of Hybrid Vehicles (2003)

This is excerpted from the executive summary of the UCS report A New Road: The Technology and Potential of Hybrid Vehicles, January 3, 2003.

The world started down a new road in 1997 when the first modern hybrid electric car, the Toyota Prius, was sold in Japan. Two years later, the United States saw its first sale of a hybrid, the Honda Insight. These two vehicles, followed by the Honda Civic Hybrid, marked a radical change in the type of car being offered to the public: vehicles that bring some of the benefits of battery electric vehicles into the conventional gasoline powered cars and trucks we have been using for more than 100 years.

In the coming years, hybrids can play a significant role in addressing several of the major problems faced by the United States and the world today: climate change, air pollution, and oil dependence. Whether this new technology delivers on its promise hinges on the choices automakers, consumers, and policymakers make over the coming years. Poor choices could result in hybrids that fall short even of what conventional technology could deliver on fuel economy, emissions, or both.

This report provides consumers and policy-makers with the tools they will need to sort out the many technological, financial, and environmental differences among the hybrids that will be brought to market in the coming years. Using new research into the cost and performance of hybrid technology, this report provides a comprehensive assessment of the technology, the fuel economy, and the costs associated with a fleet of passenger cars and trucks that rely on hybrid technology to more than double the fuel economy commonly available today. If they are designed well, these hybrids can equal or better the utility, comfort, performance, and safety we've come to expect, while saving us thousands of dollars at the gas pump.

Powered by Convio
nonprofit software