The Drive Toward an All-Electric Future and Why It Matters

By Whitelaw Reid


Two decades ago, Toyota’s Prius sedan rolled out of factories and into Japanese showrooms, becoming the first mass-produced gasoline/electric hybrid in an automotive landscape dominated by internal-combustion fuel engines.

It didn’t happen overnight. The company describes the 1997 Prius as the “culmination of a concerted, five-year effort by Toyota Motor Corporation to develop and bring to market a practical, low-emission family vehicle.”

In the end, that commitment to innovation led to business success, and a more environmentally friendly design. The iconic Prius today remains the world’s best-selling hybrid vehicle in a relatively crowded segment of automobiles. In business terms, hybrid technology is mature, even if it took 20 years.

Now, the next generation of vehicles has begun to rise.

Consumer demand is surging for the fully electric Tesla. In response, Volvo, Mercedes, BMW and Toyota have all jumped into the electric car market, while multiple Chinese companies are ramping up development of electric vehicles.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

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