Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. CEO Jim Press says he is fed up with naysayers who doubt the future of gas-electric hybrid vehicles.
“There are all these people who don't want hybrids who are trying to generate all this myth, but I just can't imagine a company 20 or 30 years from now that won't build hybrids,” Press tells Ward's.
Toyota has 10 hybrid/electric vehicles in development, Press says. The list includes the already announced Lexus GS and Toyota Camry hybrids, due next year. The remaining eight should be available by early next decade. Some of the 10 hybrids are part of the 16 new vehicles Toyota will launch in the U.S. in the next 30 months.
Buyers of hybrids may complain they are not achieving the advertised fuel economy, but Press says the vehicles still make good eco-sense.
He also disputes a recent analysis by Edmunds.com that suggested gas would have to be over $10 a gallon for a consumer to recoup the extra cost of a hybrid vehicle. Press refers to other vehicle components that never generate payback for consumers.
“When you buy an automatic transmission, how much money do you make on that? Why doesn't everybody buy a stick?” he asks. “What's the payback if you add air conditioning? Is that to save money?”
He suggests hybrids are judged unfairly, especially because a hybrid SUV produces 20% less harmful emissions than a similar gasoline-powered vehicle.