Geneva '08: Watanabe - No diesel hybrids for Toyota

Diesel hybrids are popping up everywhere in Geneva this week from Volkswagen to Mercedes-Benz to BMW. One notable exception is Toyota. The hybrid pioneer has never shown a diesel hybrid and according to Katsuaki Watanabe, the company's president they have no plans to offer one. The problem lies in the fact that diesel engines are inherently more expensive than gasoline units and adding in the cost of a hybrid system would make them uncompetitive in terms of cost. Interestingly, most of the diesel hybrids being displayed in Switzerland right now are of the mild hybrid variety rather than the strong hybrid types that Toyota uses.
Mild hybrids have smaller less powerful motors that aren't integrated into the transmission the way a full hybrid typically is. They can be paired up more easily with different engines and transmissions. While they don't offer the potential for as much electric only running, they do provide electric assist and start stop functionality and at a lower cost. Perhaps if Toyota had a less costly (and somewhat less functional) mild hybrid system in their portfolio, they would be considering diesel hybrids. However, just because we haven't seen something like that yet it doesn't mean we won't. Toyota spends a lot on R&D, much of which is never seen in public until they are good and ready. Toyota certainly isn't shying away from hybrid technology in general.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. req'd]

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