Steane Klose | Jan 14, 2008

In a speech made earlier this week, Toyota Motor CEO Katsuaki Watanabe has laid down the eco-friendly gauntlet by outlining a number of bold plans for Toyota over the coming years.

First off, it is Watanabe’s intention to ensure that Toyota meet the new U.S. CAFE standard of 35mpg, well ahead of the regulations start in 2020. According to Automotive News, Toyota will achieve this by further developing their current hybrid program along with introducing clean-diesel engines into some of their range - so while one foot is firmly in the hybrid camp the other is dipping a toe in the "eco-diesel" pool.

Toyota plan to deliver lithium-ion hybrid vehicles to demonstration fleets in 2010. These lithium-ion hybrids will include a plug-in variety that is currently in prototype form, albeit using the lower tech nickel-metal-hydride battery packs as, Toyota and Panasonic work on perfecting lithium-ion technology. Battery manufacture will be aided by adding an additional assembly line at the Panasonic joint venture battery factory, that will be dedicated to the manufacture of automotive batteries.

The 2009 Detroit Auto Show will be a big one for Toyota with the plan being to unveil new hybrid models for both the Toyota and Lexus brands. These will be stand alone hybrid models like the Prius, not hybrid variants of conventional petrol powered models. It is Toyota’s intention to sell one million hybrids per year by 2011 or 2012.

Toyota also intend to release clean-diesel V8 versions of their North American Tundra pickup and Sequoia SUV over the next 2 years.

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