Toyota today confirmed that it will produce a hybrid version of its Camry sedan in Australia from 2010.
Only car nerds will be able to pick the hybrid Camry (top) from the outside; a gauge informs all and sundry where your power is coming from (bottom)
The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has been on a whirlwind five day tour around Japan. This morning he and the President of Toyota, Ken Watanabe, announced that Toyota Australia will commence building a hybrid version of its Camry sedan in Australia from 2010.
This has been the news that Toyota Australia executives, greenies and — if they exist — Toyota fans have been waiting for. Because hybrid technology isn't cheap, specifically the batteries, the Australian and Victorian government has dangled some cash carrots to get Toyota's boardroom over the line. In today's press conference, Prime Minister Rudd confirmed that Toyota Australia will receive AU$35 million of federal funding from its "green car innovation fund".
He previously committed the federal government to purchasing 4,000 hybrids for its vehicle fleet over the next decade. His state counterpart, Victorian Premier John Brumby, at a seperate press conference in Australia, stated that his state will purchase 2,000 hybrid Camrys over two years.
Toyota Australia is aiming to produce 10,000 hybrid Camrys annually. Pricing and the volume of hybrid Camrys to be exported are questions that have yet to be answered. No mention has been made of whether the Camry's hybrid drivetrain will be produced locally or imported from overseas.
The current generation Camry is the second to have a hybrid option and is currently produced, and sold, in Japan and America. It pairs an "eco" version of the 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine found in run-of-the-mill Camrys with an electric motor, battery pack and continuously variable transmission. During spirited driving, the petrol and electric engines work together to provide 143kW of power. However when at a standstill or under light acceleration the car runs on battery power alone, with the battery being recharged during coasting. According to official U.S. figures it should sip 7.1L/100km — a normal manual four-cylinder Camry drinks 8.9L/100km.