Toyota Top Engineer Speaks on Issue of Diesel-powered Vehicles

by Correy Putton - Date: 2007-01-17 - Word Count: 494 Share This!

In the news: Reuters has recently reported that a top engineer of Toyota Motor Corporation manufacturer of high quality Toyota parts has stated during an interview last Monday that the diesel-powered vehicles that would be able to meet the strict clean-air regulations set in the United States would be too costly and in the long run may not worth the fuel savings that customers are to derive from it.

According to Executive Vice President Masatami Takimoto, heading Toyota's research and development during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, "I won't deny that we might be offering a diesel in the United States some time in the future. But right now we think hybrids are much more cost competitive."

He further added that the high cost involved in adding particulate filter traps as well as the other components needed to clean tailpipe emissions are likely to increase the price of diesel-powered vehicles and with the present condition of the US market he still believes that hybrid vehicles will still be the popular choice by a great number of American car buyers.

Toyota although not that optimistic in the prospect of diesel technology has entered into a partnership with a diesel savvy Japanese truck maker, Isuzu Motors Ltd in an attempt to advance against its other domestic Japanese rivals. Takimoto justified the said partnership saying that the roadmap leading to future diesel technology is wide open and just like any other automaker Toyota is taking advantage of the opportunity.

On the other hand, Toyota's other domestic Japanese rivals specifically Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. have both announced that they were preparing a clean diesel powertrain which they expect to launch in the United States by the end of the decade. They claimed that their clean diesel powertrain will meet the set US diesel emission regulations which are viewed to become the strictest emission regulations the world will ever see.

Plug-in Hybrids at the Auto Show in Detroit
Despite the presence of numerous remarkable vehicles at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, plug-in hybrids have still managed to grab the limelight. Takimoto explains that as long as people would like to save fuel and cut carbon dioxide emissions, hybrid plug-in cars will always have a part in the US market.

But he also stressed that a battery with enough advanced capability is still years away from practical applications. "To make plug-in hybrids feasible, you'd need a battery that is far smaller, lighter and advanced than the best lithium-ion batteries out there today," he told reporters.

He further stated that at present Toyota is developing such type of advanced battery in partnership with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Takimoto also said that the best use of plug-in hybrids will greatly depends on the method on how a country produces its electricity. For instance if a country depends heavily on fossil fuels such as coal in creating their electricity the resulting emissions on a well-to-wheel basis would still remain high.

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Corey Putton is a 28-year old bachelor from Pittsburgh, PA who has been around cars for the better part of his life. He now works online and writes all about his passion: cars. He is also a certified mechanic.

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