Critics of hybrid vehicles have suggested that one reason hybrid versions of Toyota's Highlander and Lexus RX have not sold well is that they too resemble closely their non-hybrid counterparts. By extension, analysts suggest that consumers find it too easy to compare the two and reject the hybrid, judging the increased mileage and low emissions to not be worth the cost premium.
But the Prius has no such competitor. And its unique appearance is, to many people, synonymous with the word hybrid. Toyota is hoping to capitalize on this idea, and its designers are considering:
- Lights on the side or even the hood of the vehicle when it is in hybrid mode.
- New air intakes.
- Uncovered battery packs.
One thing's for certain. The designers have no plans to use little green leaves as badges.
(Pictured: Toyota Volta concept)
[Source: Detroit News; Toyota]