Hybrid Car Production

Coming to Australia in 2010

Big news across Australia this week is that Toyota will start hybrid car production in Victoria in 2010 at the Altona plant.

The Federal Government has supported the initiative by throwing in $35 million, which may be used as a subsidy to keep prices down.

It is estimated that 10,000 cars would be produced each year. A run on effect is expected to boost green technology and innovation in Australia as other companies embrace the reality that environmentally friendly products are the future both for local markets as well as for exporting opportunities.

Interesting that the Camry has been chosen as the model to build, rather than the Prius which has dominated hybrid car sales around the world, and recently hit the one million mark for sales. Holden recently announced that it would be selling a Commodore hybrid by 2010, but would also be looking at diesel, E85 and other alternative fuel options.

For those who complain about the higher price tag on a hybrid vehicle, a simple calculation follows to show how long it will take to recoup the initial extra investment in a hybrid.

  • For a 60 litre tank it currently costs about $100 to fill up (with petrol at $1.60/litre)
  • If you fill up once a week, you are spending roughly $5200 annually on petrol.
  • Savings are expected to be in the 30-40% range so savings would be between $1560-$2000 a year.
  • With hybrids at roughly $10 000 more than standard petrol vehicles, the payback time is thus about 5 years.

Of course if any of the following occur, the payback time will be reduced

  • petrol prices go up
  • you fill up more than once a week
  • hybrids are sold with a subsidy thus reducing their initial cost
The above calculations do not factor in the resale value of hybrid vehicles or battery replacement cost, still somewhat of an unknown factor for the long term running cost of hybrids.

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