In a presentation to the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Toyota Motor Corporation Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada has predicted that hybrid vehicles will play a larger role in the future development of automotive propulsion systems than widely recognized, and fuel cells will be the next step.

“Some people say hybrid vehicles such as the Prius are only a bridge to the future. But we think it could be a long bridge and a very sturdy one”

“In each of the previous moves to a new generation [of the Prius], we achieved a 10 percent increase in mileage per gallon, we are committed to beating that record this time.”

“Today I wish to call on the industry to sell 5 million hybrids in the U.S. by the end of 2016… …It’s only when we put ourselves under the same kind of intense pressure we faced in developing the Prius that we can achieve great goals. That’s what it takes. I want our industry to achieve this goal.”

Toyota, like Daimler Mercedes, are committing to fuel cells and compare them favourably over EVs, encouraging a technology battle that some would say needn’t exist, as both solutions have a role to play in future transport.

For the longer term; Uchiyamada said he was particularly excited by a new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle the company is developing, which will have zero tail pipe emission.

“I personally expect a lot from this hydrogen fuel cell technology, perhaps 15 years from now, we can meet again here in Washington and we will know exactly which system has prevailed”

Toyota press release here:

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