Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hybrid Invasion of Europe Begins with Auris Hybrid

Toyota Auris Hybrid

Toyota Auris Hybrid

Toyota begins selling the Auris Hybrid in the U.K. on July 1. This is a milestone for a number of important reasons.

First, it�"s the first time a full hybrid has been targeted for the heart of the European market. The Auris�which uses the same technical architecture as the Toyota Prius� is a mainstream economical model, with a position in the market roughly similar to the Corolla. The hybrid version is very similar to the conventional Auris. The main differences are: lower ride height for better aerodynamics (0.28 Cd); reshaped bumpers and longer rear spoiler (also for aero); and a smaller gas tank and trunk to accommodate the nickel metal hydride battery pack. Cosmetic changes include a chrome grille, LED driving lights and hybrid blue-tint badges.

Why else is it important? Because the Auris Hybrid is the first full hybrid�at least according to Toyota�to be produced in Europe, specifically for the European market. The Auris Hybrid went into production earlier this month in Burnaston, England. (Actually, Volkswagen began building the Touareg Hybrid in Slovakia in April.)

Europe has historically preferred diesels to hybrids, as a green fuel efficiency choice�but this marks the beginning of a shift to hybrids. The Auris Hybrid could help Toyota bypass Fiat to become Europe�"s low-CO2 champion. The Auris hybrid�"s CO2 output is just 89 gram per kilometer.

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