Any news coming from Toyota seems to be perceived as a mockery to the three biggest automakers. It's really not their fault. Toyota is feeling the pinch of the financial downturn but they are not in danger of impending collapse and they have a lot of profits coming in and enough cash on hand to endure the current financial storm.
As the American car manufacturers are going down under and pleading for cash just to pay their employees, Toyota is producing its newest in hybrid technology: a hybrid based on natural gas.
Although the Toyota CNG Camry Hybrid is a concept car, it provides some appealing figures. This Hybrid can travel an impressive 250 miles or 400 kilometer on natural gas the equivalent of just 8 gallons of gas.
It has also very low levels of emission for hazardous gases and pollutants. However, the vehicle needs natural gas tanks, of a cylindrical configuration, in the spare tire compartment and therefore are equipped with run flat tires.
And, because natural gas is less dense than gasoline or diesel, it is also less powerful. The Hybrid will be displayed at the LA Auto Show this Wednesday with plans for its production still a thing of the future.
Recognizing that liquid petroleum and fossil fuels will be depleted someday, TMS Advanced Product Strategy group VP Chris Hostetter stated that it’s important that vehicle companies look to alternate sources of fuel. Hostetter then put forward CNG as an ideal alternative.
Toyota was one of the car manufacturers to recognize the potential of CNG. It released a four-cylinder Camry meant for the California market in 1999. This particular model of the Camry utilized CNG. However, due to weak customer support, the CNG-powered Camry was shut down in 2000.
The lack of interest in the Camry was due in part to the limited number of CNG refueling stations – a fact that is true up until years after the program was discontinued.
However, that could change as Hostetter says that his company is exploring the potential of CNG as an alternative type of fuel to be used in the future. In fact, CNG is one of the alternatives that they are currently researching on and developing for future use.