Akio Toyoda says Toyota's hybrids aided quake survivors

At a press conference last week, Toyota chief executive officer Akio Toyoda raved that hybrid vehicles have aided survivors of the devastating earthquake that rattled Japan. Toyoda's not-so-subtle message plugged the gas-electric vehicles for their ability to extend the time between fill-ups, pointing out that hybrid owners have written him letters, which Toyoda outlined like this:
They said, I'm glad I have a hybrid vehicle because hybrid vehicles have a very long driving range. And because of that, if they had not been using hybrid vehicles, they would be among those people cuing up for gasoline. They didn't have to because they had hybrids.
Toyoda continued, stating that:
In some of the letters sent to me, people complained about the blackouts, the lack of electricity supply. But they have the Estima hybrid and were able to use electricity stored in the Estima to charge mobile phones or warm up emergency supplies or food.
Making claims like this are sure to set off at least some criticisms, and we're not sure if promoting hybrids in this way is a wise course of action. Anyone have any other thoughts?

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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