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Clean Vehicles

Toyota’s Hybrid Sienna Driving The Alternative Fuel Market

Toyota recently rolled its 30-millionth American made car off their Princeton, Indiana assembly line – and it’s a hybrid electric vehicle. The new 2021 Sienna is a hybrid minivan, and it is just one of many steps along the path Toyota is taking as it shifts away from traditional fossil-fuel vehicles to environmentally cleaner electric cars. With many new models on the horizon, the auto manufacturer is leading the way toward the full aggregate electrification of the automotive industry, offering three new electrified models by the end of this year alone. The 2021 offerings include two pure battery-electric cars and one plug-in hybrid. While Toyota has long been a pioneer in the hybrid field, the move toward battery-electric is a step further toward a clean energy-fueled economy. By 2025, Toyota wants to be the leader of the alternative fuel vehicle market (a market that includes electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel-cell cars, and plug-in hybrids).

Production of the new Sienna is welcome news for the Indiana plant, which has been under-utilized since the beginning of the pandemic. In addition to putting people back to work, Toyota is constantly pushing the limits of its electric vehicle technology. A new battery-electric vehicle technology called e-TNGA is in development for several Toyota and Lexus cars in the near future. The company plans for 40 percent of its new vehicles to be electrified by 2025, and 70 percent by 2030.

“Toyota’s new electrified product offerings will give customers multiple choices of powertrain that best suits their needs,” said Bob Carter, Toyota North America’s Vice President of Sales.

Those offerings include a new compact SUV and most likely a compact vehicle to compete with Chevrolet’s Volt. These new Toyotas will be on sale by the end of the year as 2022 models. Each is the result of an aggressive redesign triggered by drivers who wanted better torque and improved gas mileage across the board. In addition to the upcoming models, Toyota already sells hybrid versions of the Avalon, Camry, Corolla, RAV4, and Highlander. Their current plug-in hybrids include the 2021 Prius Prime as well as the popular 2021 RAV4 Prime (it’s sold out). Toyota also sells the Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle in certain areas of California near public hydrogen filling stations. These are big changes for a company that has been making fossil-fuel cars in the United States for 35 years. These electric vehicle developments are in line with new federal government initiatives and tax credits supporting sustainable transportation programs. These credits are a part of the federal stimulus bill passed in late December 2020, designed to invest billions of dollars into American innovation in clean energy. Clean energy vehicles such as Toyota’s are examples of how America can build a more sustainable future.

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