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Age of the hybrid has come, says researcher

Aug 22,2005
Ask Takehisa Yaegashi, the 62-year-old senior engineer at Toyota known as the “father of the hybrid,” what makes a hybrid car, and he will say it is the semiconductor, which controls the engine and motor.
The Japanese engineer gave a lecture on the future of hybrid automobiles at Hanyang University on Friday.
Mr. Yaegashi stressed that for automobile manufacturers to succeed in the future, they have to secure not only a sound engine design, but also efficient semiconductors to give the electric motor its edge over gas-powered vehicles.
Since the mid-1990s, Toyota has dedicated a research lab exclusively to developing better semiconductors for hybrid vehicles.
“The victors in the next-generation automobile industry will be companies that quickly adapt to the new technology,” Mr. Yaegashi said. He described hybrid automobiles as the vehicle of the future, as not only do they reduce exhaust fumes, but they also increase fuel efficiency by using both gasoline and electric motors.
“The hybrid vehicle market will inevitably grow rapidly as competition to develop them grows fiercer among major global auto makers including Ford, DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai Motor,” said the researcher. Toyota, which expects to sell 1 million hybrid cars in 2010, will introduce the first hybrid car in Korea in August next year.
Last year, Toyota sold more than 53,000 units of its hybrid Prius, which Mr. Yaegashi and a team of engineers at the Japanese auto manufacturer first developed in 1997 in the United States.
With the competition heating up, Mr. Yaegashi said Toyota plans to expand its hybrid line to include diesel trucks and buses.
“Toyota has already supplied its hybrid system to several automobile companies,” noted Mr. Yaegashi, who added that Toyota, Japan’s leading automaker, hopes to construct a hybrid car production plant in China in the second half of this year.


by Kim Tae-jin


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