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Green Car Divide Widens

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July 16, 2014

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Green Car Divide Widens

Green Car Divide Widens

The two biggest players in the green car race are Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Corp., but each is betting on very different technology, which is causing the divide to widen.

Most automakers are dabbling in alternative powertrain technologies, but Toyota and Nissan are firmly committed, each convinced that their chosen technology will lead the way through the future of green vehicles. Toyota’s money is on gasoline-electric hybrids, while Nissan is aiming to be the world’s leader in electric vehicles.

In June, Nissan launched their second of four electric vehicles, the e-NV200 battery powered van.

“When it comes to zero emissions, we’re absolutely religious,” Andy Palmer, Nissan’s chief planning officer, said at the launch of the e-NV200, Nissan’s second EV after the Leaf. “We’ll be the absolute, No. 1 leader in zero emissions. No doubt. That’s our positioning.”

Only a few weeks earlier, Toyota cancelled it’s electric vehicle program when it ended it’s deal with Tesla to build electric Toyota RAV4 crossovers. Once production on this vehicle ends later this year, Toyota will be out of the electric car business entirely. Toyota is convinced EVs are only a short-range, run-about solution, said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota’s North America region. The company is investing in hydrogen fuel cell technology, which may one day work out better than even electric vehicles. Toyota will have a hydrogen powered vehicle on California roads next year.

It’s still up in the air as to which alternative powertrain model will work out best. Electric vehicles suffer from range anxiety and high costs while hybrids face stiff competition from improved internal-combustion engines. Gasoline powered engines are enjoying reduced emissions through features such as stop-start systems, downsized turbochargers and lighter weight materials.

Further hurting results is volume. Less than 7 percent of global output is attributed to EVs and hybrids combined, though nearly all of that number is hybrids.

By Linda Aylesworthcar-news.ca

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