Toyota launches hybrid car in India

Toyota launches hybrid car in India

NEW DELHI Toyota Motor Corp has launched a second hybrid car in India, a seven seater people-carrier, as part of a wider strategy to double-down on the sale of electrified vehicles in emerging markets.

Innova HyCross, a hybrid version of the popular multi-purpose vehicle that Toyota already sells in India, builds on the success of its hybrid sport-utility vehicle SUV, Urban Cruiser HyRyder, which went on sale in September.

With this offering, we are confident that the expansion of eco-friendly vehicles will be ensured, said Hideki Mizuma, chief engineer at Toyota Innova, at the car's unveil in Mumbai.

Green investors blamed the world's largest carmaker by sales for its slowness in moving its product line-up to all-electric, battery electric vehicles BEVs. But the company says hybrids make more sense in markets where infrastructure is not ready for BEVs and that it needs to offer a variety of options.

A full hybrid engine can be driven for stretches on electric power, while a mild hybrid technology only supplements the combustion engine to help reduce emissions. The mild hybrids have smaller batteries and cost less.

Toyota and partner Suzuki Motor Corp plan to build hybrid vehicles in India for domestic sale and export to markets like Africa, which they think are best suited for this technology. The hybrid push comes amid an aggressive EV push by domestic rivals Tata Motors and Mahindra Mahindra.

India wants to build more electric vehicles, but the uptake for such vehicles so far has been slow, and only Tata builds them locally.