(Picture left: Toyota FT-CH) Toyota currently makes the Camry Hybrid in the United States, at its Georgetown, Ky. plant. Honda, the second largest global hybrid producer, made less than 150,000 hybrids in 2009.
Toyota currently sells more than 10 hybrids, including dedicated models such as the Prius and Lexus HS 250h—as well as the Toyota Sai, a sister model to the HS 250h only sold in Japan. Toyota plans to boost production of these existing vehicles in addition to launching new hybrid minivans, subcompacts and luxury cars, according to the report.
No details are available yet on the Toyota hybrid minivan.
Toyota introduced its first-generation Prius hybrid in 1998 to the Japanese market. Honda's HEV features the company's innovative Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system that was detailed in Green Car Journal's Fall 2004 issue.
Toyota uses its sophisticated Hybrid Synergy Drive system to power todays Prius, a follow-on to the first-generation Toyota Hybrid System. Both automakers are now offering their second generation hybrid vehicles. Both the Toyota and Honda hybrids are parallel configurations, with wheels driven by both their internal combustion engine and electric motor. The Honda IMA systems electric motor/generator supplies additional power to the gasoline engine when needed for acceleration or when driving demands are greater, such as when climbing grades, thus the designation motor assist. The Honda gasoline engine always provides propulsion.
Things are reversed with Toyotas Hybrid Synergy Drive, which finds the Prius starting out on battery electric power. The gasoline engine seamlessly starts up to provide additional power during acceleration, at higher speeds, or when driving up grades. Hondas hybrids cannot do this.