One of France's most prestigious newspapers, Le Monde, has published a very interesting article about the real impact and the future of green cars regarding Japanese automakers. Basically, the idea is that automakers are asking (and getting) help to develop green technologies. It quotes Carlos Ghosn's concerns about hybrid cars really catching on, where he states that hybrids might only be a niche market, while remaining "skeptical about the commercial potential of these technologies." The truth is that they justify this in the not-so-big impact of hybrid cars sold in the U. S.: 350,289 cars in 2007 (out of 16 million car sales), although I do believe it's significant enough.

Regarding the Japanese market, the article explains that the impact of hybrid cars is even smaller. And this is because of the price difference between hybrids and its non-hybrid siblings: a Honda Civic Hybrid costs ¥400,000 or $3,700 more than the conventional model. Bearing this in mind and that Japan's target is to reduce emissions by 23.5 percent in 2015, Japanese automakers are asking for help to make these technologies available for more people. And the Japanese government has heard their plea: ¥209 billion ($1,9 billion) between now and 2012 have been allocated to the auto industry to find green technologies (not only hybrids but also biofuels). ¥32 billion are directly invested in hydrogen fuel cell technology, ¥25 billion for EVs and ¥24 billion for Liquified Petroleum Gas.

[Source: Le Monde]

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