Whenever a new product type is introduced, it doesn’t just get customers’ approval right away. In fact, it takes many years and many products before that product type is accepted by the masses. If we talk about the hybrid vehicle, it has the same story.
There were three vehicles that played a big role in the hybrid revolution. Ferdinand Piëch, the then chairman of Volkswagen, in 2002, drove a vehicle for 135 miles. He drove under rainy conditions in his traditional attire without listening to the radio, because the car didn’t have one. The vehicle had a very low power output, so it didn’t allow him to do you overtaking that much. He had to reach a shareholder event from the company headquarters and for this, he traveled for three hours.
There wasn’t anything special about this journey and what we heard at that time was that he is about to be retired. What’s interesting is that the car just consumed less than one liter per hundred kilometers. This is what he became obsessed with and what defined the company for the next decade. He wanted to provide such an economy with high-performance models and he began to think about how they can achieve this.
The XL 1 was the answer to this, which was revealed 9 years ago, but it’s still very relevant. The company had finally managed to offer a very fuel-efficient vehicle and literally started the war for it.
Where it seemed like Volkswagen has taken a lead, Toyota and Honda were planning their next moves. Both companies were known to offer great economical products. Toyota was offering the petrol-electric hybrid Car and Honda, through its products, was showing the world what can be achieved through hybrid technology.
The Prius project began in 1994 when the Toyota executives ordered to produce a vehicle that’s truly the modern car. The chairman of Toyota said in 2015 that whenever a company is working on manufacturing ordinary passenger cars, the experienced staff tends to give advice, which does not allow the young engineers to try something new. But, as the hybrid technology was relatively new, they did not have any idea what to do, so, the engineers didn’t receive any advice from them. The engineering team was under huge pressure but it also helped them.