Toyota Motor Corporation has boosted production of its Prius petrol-electric car, whose engine was last month voted the world’s best, amid increased demand for the car with surging world fuel prices.

Toyota Motor Corporation has boosted production of its Prius petrol-electric car, whose engine was last month voted the world’s best, amid increased demand for the car with surging world fuel prices.

Production of the hybrid car was raised from 7 500 units to 10 000 units a month, a Japanese spokesperson said. He added that the Prius plant in central Japan could produce 130 000 cars a year, about 44 per cent more than its earlier production target.

Toyota president Fujio Cho said in June last year that the company planned to double its hybrid range to six models by about 2006, putting the petrol-electric engines in bakkies, four-wheel drives and its Lexus range of luxury vehicles.

The internal combustion engine/electric motor combination as housed in the Prius saloon scooped the prizes for the Best New Engine of 2004, Best Fuel Economy Engine, and Best 1,4-litre to 1,8-litre. The jury comprising 56 motor journalists also voted the Prius engine the overall International Engine of the Year winner.

Judges said the engine was “truly remarkable”, and “raises the hybrid bar with a combination of better driveability, more technology, and more eco-friendliness”.

Toyota sells its hybrid technology to Nissan Motor and Ford. Ford and General Motors will start selling their first hybrid models this year, seven years after Toyota first introduced the Prius.

Original article from Car