Toyota Produces Their First Full Hybrid In Europe
Europe is a bit hybrid-adverse and far removed from Japan, where the Toyota Prius has been leading the charts for the 12th month in a row. In a move to convert Europeans into hybrid-lovers, Toyota started production of their hybrid Auris in the UK.
According to Jato Research, hybrids have a near insignificant 0.5 percent market share in Europe. In the U.S., the hybrid share stands at 2.3 percent, whereas the Japanese are downright hybrid-kichi with a 10.1 percent share in the land of Nippon. Hybrid acceptance and environmentally responsible behavior are two things, by the way. The Jato report wags the finger at the U.S. and remarks that Americans, despite their higher take-up of hybrids, love environmental oinkers. Cars bought in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2010 average 268.5 g / km of CO2. In Europe’s five biggest markets, the number is 140.3 g/km, and Japan shines with 130.8 g/km.
Toyota wants to convince the Europeans that hybrids are a good thing. Today, with the necessary pomp and circumstance, Toyota’s Toyota Plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire, UK, celebrates the official start of production of the new Auris with Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD), Toyota’s first full hybrid to be built in Europe. Toyota wants to sell 30,000 of the hybrid Auris. The Toyota Auris is a compact 3 door and 5 door hatchback on the same E150 platform as the Toyota Corolla. It is not sold in North America.
According to Toyota, their “new 5-door hatchback is equipped with the first and only full hybrid powertrain in the highly competitive C-Segment.” The HSD has its roots in the first generation Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle.
The Auris has a downright prudent fuel consumption of only 3.8l/100km (62 mpg US, not EPA rated), along with highly tax-efficient CO2 emissions of only 89g/km. In a sleight at fuel misers popular in Europe, Toyota remarks that the Auris “generates significantly lower NOx and PM emissions than diesel engined cars of comparable performance.”
UK residents will be glad to hear that the new hybrid Auris will be assembled at Toyota Manufacturing UK’s Burnaston Plant, in Derbyshire, while the Hybrid Synergy Drive system’s 1.8ltr petrol engine will be built in Deeside, North Wales.
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Europe isn't hybrid-adverse, it supports its local car industry which doesn't make hybrids yet but does make efficient diesels.
That's the problem. A lot of people like to point out the high adoption rate of hybrids and electrics in the US. Duh. That's because the alternatives all have bigger engines than they do in Europe. In the US, you get your typical compact car with a 2 liter base engine and maybe a 2.4 or a 2.5 for the mid-range model, with a turbocharger thrown in if you go for the "sports" model. Whereas in Europe (and everywhere else), you can get the same car with a 1.5 or a 1.6... maybe even a diesel. "Too slow" for American tastes, but these cars can merge in traffic and hold over 80 mph on the autobahn with ease. If you want it, you can even get those same cars with 1.4 to 1.6 liter turbodiesels that offer the same real-world performance as bigger gasoline engines with hybrid-like fuel economy. It's against this that hybrids are lined up against in Europe. most telling is that the average European's carbon footprint is much smaller than that of the average American. Japan is a special case. They have ultra-small cars there with fuel efficient engines, but Japanese registration laws encourage quick turnover of vehicles, and "techy" stuff generally sells well.