The list of fashionable life-style accessories now includes hybrid cars. The Toyota Prius joined such style icons as the iPhone, iPlayer and Nintendo Wii following the announcement of the winners of the first British Technology Awards. The hybrid car won the Greenest Technology of the Year Award.
The key to the vehicle’s promotion to icon status lies in the development of an effective battery system. The life-span of the battery, and its limited range, has held back public acceptance of the new hybrid cars, but Toyota seem to be overcoming this obstacle. Their engineering team now claims that, correctly charged, the battery has a life-expectancy of between seven and ten years. The new, lighter battery has been tested and found capable of a lifetime mileage in the region of 150,000 miles.
The Prius seems to be leading the hybrid vehicles into the mainstream market, a million vehicles had been sold by May 2008. It is also attracting attention from celebrities. Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz love it, while Jeremy Clarkson, unsurprisingly, is not a fan. The Top Gear presenter had a Prius shot during a recent episode, claiming, “It’s not beautiful, it’s not fast, it’s not particularly economical, it’s not desperately safe, and now it turns out it isn’t even bullet-proof”.