Plug-in hybrids "better" than EVs, according to Toyota
So said Graham Smith, managing director of Toyota Motor Europe, to delegates at the International Automotive Conference in Sunderland.
'But it will take time for consumers to adapt to the idea of driving a car that you can plug into a socket,' he warned the delegates at the Stadium of Light.
Toyota will launch a 36-month trial of plug-in hybrids this summer in London using 20 vehicles. The trial has already started in France, he said.
Toyota believes that electric-only vehicles are only suitable for short journeys in city and suburban areas. 'They will have a role to play but it is not a major one,' said Mr Smith.
The advantage of plug-in hybrids is that for journeys under 10km they run off electric power only and are zero emission. For journeys under 25km – which represent 80% of trips – the vehicle will run in hybrid mode using the petrol engine, with CO2 emissions 60% less than the Prius mild hybrid, he added.
Toyota will offer a hybrid version of every model in its range by the early 2020s. The UK-built Auris will be available with petrol, diesel and hybrid power from the middle of this year 'and is a strong indication of where we are going,' explained Mr Smith.