Toyota Prius: The Future Is Now

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Is this the concept of things to come with car technology?

With degree in hand, you step off of the stage and work your way back to your seat, tassel turned and your whole life ahead of you. And if your searching paid off, you may have a new job waiting, one paying a living wage and offering a good start toward helping you launch your career.

Now for an important question: how will you get to your job?

If you live in the city, then mass transportation may be all that you need, but with so many jobs located in the suburbs and exurbs, having a dependable and efficient way to get you where you are going is essential.

Cars Of The Future

For students entering the workforce in 2015 and beyond, the types of transportation offered will be radically different from the cars available today. Though just a few years away, the cars coming online beginning later this year and over the ensuing years will be far removed from what you can buy right now.

The transition to a whole new breed of vehicles began more than a decade ago when both Honda and Toyota began to produce their first hybrid gas-electric cars. Earlier models were ugly, underpowered, and fairly cheap, but over time these cars have become more sophisticated and fuel efficient, keeping up with owner preferences and government mandates.

Concept Toyota Gets Noticed

The Toyota Prius is by far the best selling hybrid model of all, but it will soon have some strong challengers including newer versions of itself. One such model under consideration is the Toyota FT-CH concept (pictured), a vehicle that made its debut at the 2010 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit this January.

The FT-CH changes things for Toyota and for customers as the model points to new direction the world’s top selling automaker plans on going: some models will still be gas-electric hybrids, but instead of using the current nickel-cadmium technology, a switch to lithium-ion will begin, perhaps even as early as this year. Li-ion batteries as they are called have a more robust lifespan then ni-cad batteries and offer a longer driving range. You will be able to plug these cars in to home electrical outlets to recharge the battery.

But FT-CH will not stop there. A pure battery electric vehicle is being readied, one that will not include a supplemental gas engine. Plug this car in at home or at your work place’s recharging port and you will have a ready and steady supply of energy available to you.

Hydrogen Powered Cars Too

Perhaps the most revolutionary vehicle to hit the market will be a hydrogen powered version of the Prius. Thought to be decades away from hitting the market when first conceived around 2000, the technology has been refined and improved to where production may start as soon as 2015.

Also called a fuel cell vehicle, these cars are already being tested with Honda Clarity FX available for lease in select markets. A fueling infrastructure needs to be put in place first, but that looks possible for Southern California and the New York City area.

Sustainability Movement Takes Off

Although what powers these cars is critically important to buyers, what is inside will be dramatically different too. Roomy cabins, the use of 8-bit microprocessor technology for video games and music, and a much greater use of recyclable materials will be evident throughout.

Indeed, most automakers are working on developing cars which will be nearly completely recyclable, meaning that few future models will clog auto junkyards when their lifespans have been completed.

You have heard the term “sustainable” for many years now – the auto industry has embraced the concept of producing more environmentally friendly vehicles and you will be the benefit of these cars once you are ready to make your purchase.

The Toyota FT-CH is just a concept but its styling, engineering, and technology point in the direction Toyota and other automakers will be heading. Come 2015 you may have a new job in hand, but you may also be driving a car powered by electricity or hydrogen, sustainable vehicles with a minimal impact on the environment.

Unfolding Before Your Eyes

If you’re just starting out in college, you will witness these changes from the vantage point of a student who is seeing a new world unfold. No, the internal combustion engine is not dead, but even these motors will be smaller, more energy and environmentally efficient then what we’ve seen, part of an across the board sea change making its way through the global automotive industry.

Perhaps what you’re seeing a glimpse at the first new car you will buy once you launch your career.

Resources

Autotrends.org: Three New Hybrids to Join Hybrid Fleet

Green Car Congress

The New York Times: Coming: 95% Recyclable Cars

Source: Toyota Motor Company

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Categories: Campus Cars