I was recently invited by Toyota's advertising group to come experience the wonderful world of Toyota hybrids. Toyota has decided to take what they preach to the street. What do they preach you ask? Why to confront the the world's energy challenge, of course. Being open to anything related to automotive, I was game!
When I think of automotive companies out to make a difference I think of Mercedes with their BlueTec diesels, GM with their Volt electric car and of course the ever so familiar Toyota Prius. The Toyota Prius took Southern California's roads by storm when the car was approved to be used in the HOV lane due to it's great gas mileage and envoro-friendly design. The vehicle was already made popular in Northern California when it first hit the dealerships thanks in big part to the huppies (part hippie, part yuppie).
The 53', all inclusive rig
The Toyota Highway to the Future mobile hybrid experience was designed to share with the public what impact or "fingerprint" we leave on the earth. This highly interactive experience walks you through the world of energy uses, types and sources. You start off with finding out how much you, the consumer effects the environment by your use of energy.
One of two Toyota Prius virtual machines
One of the exhibits I found fascinating was the breakdown of specific energy sources on a global map. Another feature were two virtual cars designed to help you experience the Hybrid auto. The thing I found nice was that the exhibit was designed for interaction of all ages. It is always neat to see a 13yr. old next to her 67yr. old grandfather learning the same thing.
This exhibit was an excellent experience even for an industry insider like myself. I tried not to critique so much in my head as I know some things on the topic may be too advanced for "Joe public". In conclusion; I still find myself favoring short-term resolutions like bio-diesel or multi-displacement systems but do see a future of hybrids such as these. I give Toyota a nod for not making the experience a sales pitch. very few things inside the exhibit referred to Toyota in specific.