Toyota will mount a special exhibit featuring two hybrid vehicles, including one powered by a fuel cell, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa next week.

The special exhibit, part of the Japan Pavilion at the summit, will feature Toyota’s production petrol/electric Estima Hybrid minivan and the hydrogen-powered FCHV-4 prototype.

Accompanying display panels will present Toyota’s overall approach to creating the “ultimate eco-car” and provide a look at its specific achievements in this field.

Toyota has long believed that hybrid technologies are the key to the car’s future. It introduced the Prius, world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, back in 1997 and has since broadened its hybrid lineup with the Estima and a version of the Japanese-market Crown sedan.

Sales of Toyota hybrid vehicles topped the 100,000 mark in March this year and Toyota plans to sell 300,000 hybrids a year by around 2005.

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Toyota’s hybrid endeavours also include the application of fuel cells in what it calls “fuel cell hybrid vehicles”, or FCHVs. Toyota began development of FCHVs in 1992 and units of its fourth prototype – the FCHV-4 – have covered a cumulative 110,000 kilometres (70,000 miles) on and off the test track (to the end of June this year), providing valuable insight toward the commercialisation of FCHVs in Japan and in the United States around the end of this year.

Both the Estima Hybrid and the FCHV-4 demonstrate achievable environmental and resource-conservation solutions: the former has twice the fuel efficiency of conventional minivans and features the world’s first commercialised electric four-wheel-drive system; the latter emits only water and is set to serve as the platform for a soon-to-be-marketed FCHV.