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High time for hybrids

  • Magazine Feature Article
  • AUTOFEB02_03
Published February 01, 2002 by SAE International in United States
  • English

With two already on U.S. roads and at least four others slated for launch within the next couple of years, hybrid vehicles are taking center stage in the automotive industry. Whether the technology becomes a mass-market phenomenon or a niche filler is a matter of debate-one that will take place at the SAE 2002 World Congress this March.

It's by no means a population explosion, but the introduction of several production hybrid-electric vehicles over the next couple years may signal a breakthrough in their commercialization.

John Wallace, Executive Director of Ford Motor Co.'s TH!NK Group, sees slow growth for hybrids until at least the middle of this decade. It's his hope that Ford and the industry at large by then will have solved the technical challenges to make this now expensive technology more affordable. Once they do, sales will begin to rise sharply, Wallace believes.