Yes, these rumors come and go, but it seems like it’s back again. This is just sort of the thing I like to encourage, not the rumor mongering so much (although that might not hurt), but the idea that someone should go out and build a hybrid sportscar that’s tuned for performance first, and economy second.
And if you think about it, you could very easily have a hybrid sportscar that’s tuned for performance first, and economy second, but also have it drop into economy mode at the flip of a switch.
For the longest time, shoot, since they’ve been around, hybrids have been marketed, bought and sold in such a “you should really eat your vegetables” kind of way, that people almost buy them out of guilt to be in some way or another morally superior. To me, that sounds like a sales and marketing strategy that can only work for so long.
What sold cars when cars were first around wasn’t that they were more efficient and cleaner than horse and buggies (do some reading, and you’ll quickly find out what a huge horse manure problem New York City had at the turn of the 20th Century). No, what sold cars back then was that they were a better way to get around, fun, and (initially at least) a way to show how rich you were (and Edwardians loved to be able to do that).
It has long been a contention of mine that if you want to sell hybrids, or any sort of green car for that matter, don’t them something you should drive, make them something you want to drive.
Make a fun hybrid. Make a hybrid version of a Mazda Miata (a car that gets amazingly good gas mileage, but you never see anyone buying one for that reason, or even mentioning it much, now do you), and you’ll sell them faster than you can make them.
So, when the most recent round of rumors hit the aether that Toyota was planning on making a hybrid MR2, all I could say was, ‘it’s about time.’
Japan’s Best Car magazine is reporting that Toyota is planning to bring out a hybrid sports car in the near future as a direct challenger to the new Honda CR-Z coupe. And this rumored Toyota hybrid sportscar, unlike the CR-Z will not only be rear wheel drive, but also would be mid-engined as well.
There’s no point in reiterating who would have the performance advantage between a front engine/front drive car versus a mid-engine/rear drive car.