After ten years at the top, Toyota is suddenly finding its lead in hybrid car technology under attack. Not only are ever more gasoline-electric rival models appearing, but manufacturers such as Mitsubishi and Nissan have also laid out plans for the mass production of electric vehicles (EVs) in the hope that buyers will rush to embrace such cars as the new eco-zeitgeist. In the first of a three-part series for, Glenn Brooks outlines the latest advances in hybrid and EVs technology.