Source Pravda.Ru

Hybrids catch automakers' eyes at Frankfurt auto show

This was the week of hybrid technology, at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, with a skein of announcements by leading German carmakers that they would follow Toyota's lead in developing these dual gasoline-electric engines.

See photoreport of from the show

But backstage at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, a different picture is emerging: Europe's auto executives remain privately skeptical, even dismissive, about the merits of hybrid technology.

A spate of press releases may be no more than that a public relations response to what many in the European auto industry say has been the Japanese industry's shrewd promotion of a so-so technology.

"This was a marketing battle between Europe and Japan, and diesel engines were Europe's proposal," the chairman of Porsche, Wendelin Wiedeking, said in an interview Tuesday. "We must accept that we lost."

Adding to the pressure, some Europeans said, is the sharp rise in oil prices, which has cast a shadow over this gathering and renewed the focus on a search for alternatives to fossil fuels, reports CNET News.com.

"I think what happened was the manifest success of the Prius caused a rethink on everybody’s part," Lutz said. GM plans to debut a hybrid system on the Tahoe and Yukon trucks in 2007.

Companies are developing different kinds of hybrids. But generally, a hybrid vehicle is powered either by an electric motor or by the combustion engine, or the systems can be used simultaneously.

Hybrid engines have been touted as a way to make automobiles more fuel efficient, but at a cost. Current hybrids tend to cost between $4,000 and $9,000 more than counterparts with regular engines under the hood, a premium that carmakers hope to reduce through the partnerships. The fuel savings vary depending on how the vehicle is driven. The Prius gets up to 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51 mpg on the highway, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Despite the success of the Prius and other hybrid models from Honda Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co., hybrids still represent less than 1 percent of the U.S. market. Some analysts have said that could grow to as much as 35 percent by 2015, although others have been more conservative.

Hybrids have made even less of a dent in Europe. GM Europe Chairman Fritz Henderson said they account for far less than 1 percent of the market. Toyota’s European vice president of marketing, Ludo Vandervelden, said the company will sell around 10,000 Prius cars in Europe this year and 4,500 hybrid versions of the Lexus RX 400h utility vehicle, informs Mail Tribune.

Representatives of the North Korean administration issued a statement saying that the United States and its allies have lost the "political and military confrontation" to the DPRK

North Korea declares victory over USA

Putin made his first public comment on the subject of the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Putin makes first comment on Trump's Jerusalem decision
Comments
Turkey's Erdogan urges others to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Palestine
Russia to rebuild its former Soviet naval base in Syria's Tartus
Putin in Egypt: Who's the big player in the Middle East?
Russia to rebuild its former Soviet naval base in Syria's Tartus
Putin in Egypt: Who's the big player in the Middle East?
Putin in Egypt: Who's the big player in the Middle East?
Putin in Egypt: Who's the big player in the Middle East?
Putin: Russia is ready to launch direct air communication with Egypt
Russia works on MiG-41 doomsday fighter jet
Russia works on MiG-41 doomsday fighter jet
Russia works on MiG-41 doomsday fighter jet
Russia works on MiG-41 doomsday fighter jet
Russia works on MiG-41 doomsday fighter jet
Mr. Trump: Are you the leader of the free world?
Pentagon can not accept Russia's victory over terrorists in Syria
Turkey's Erdogan urges others to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Palestine
Turkish President Erdogan issues ultimatum to Washington and Brussels
Turkey's Erdogan urges others to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Palestine
USA no longer wants Bashar Assad to go
From Cast Lead to Schabas's defeat: The collective punishment repeats
Pentagon can not accept Russia's victory over terrorists in Syria