The first hybrid car to be sold in Australia that is built from Toyota's Altona Plant
The hybrid version of the Toyota Camry will go on sale in February 2010, marking the beginning of a new, greener era for the local car industry rolled off the Toyota production line at Toyota's Altona Plant yesterday.
Toyota plans to sell 10,000 hybrid Camrys a year and the Victorian Government has already committed to buy 2000 of them. Private buyers may be hard pressed to get their hands on the car, though, as Toyota insiders say fleet pre-orders for the car have been particularly strong.
The Hybrid Camry employs a slightly different version of the regular Camry's 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, with a small electric motor powered by Nickel Metal Hydride batteries supplying additional power at low speeds and when the car is cruising.
Instead of a regular automatic or manual gearbox, it uses a continuously variable transmission, which both improves acceleration and reduces fuel consumption.
The car's suspension and steering has also been tuned by Australian engineers to better suit local tastes.
The car looks like a conventional vehicle from outside, except for a couple of subtle styling changes to highlight its environmental friendliness.
Inside there is an "eco-gauge" instead of a rev-counter and a read-out that tells the driver when they're using petrol, electric power or a combination of both.