The Driving Need For Electric Vehicles Mon, 14 Feb 2005, 21:20 (NAPSI)-The idea of environmentally friendly electric vehicles may seem like a future trend but it has been going on for decades. It is expected that in the near future they will become as mainstream as the microwave oven because of their enormous potential to help our environment as well as reduce our dependence upon gasoline. In fact, electric vehicles are more common today than most people realize. For example, the global leader in electric lift trucks sold its first electric model in the U.S. in 1975, and today 60 percent of lift trucks sold in the U.S. are electric. "This is a reverse of 20 years ago when the split was 60 percent gas and 40 percent electric," said Brett Wood, national product development, strategic planning and marketing services manager for Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A. Inc. Ninety-nine percent of its lift trucks sold in the U.S. are assembled in North America. Environmental Benefits The Environmental Protection Agency says half the nation lives where air quality is designated "unhealthy" at some time in the year. Fortunately, electric vehicles can contribute to a cleaner environment. Electric lift trucks offer an advantage to businesses whose products are sensitive to heat or emissions, such as those in the food industry. Improved Performance And Cost-Savings Electric lift trucks are almost as fast as internal combustion models but are more economical over the long run due to reduced maintenance requirements and longer lifespans. Because these trucks contain fewer movable parts, maintenance costs and related downtime are reduced significantly. Popular Vehicles According to a prominent global marketing information company, hybrid automobile sales will exceed 500,000 in the next five to 10 years. Why? Perhaps because electric-drive hybrids can do more with less. They provide everything today's conventional vehicles do but with much more mileage and much less pollution. Mileage and ultra-low emissions aren't the only advantages of new hybrids. Electric-drive hybrids boost the motor's output by 50 percent and add more torque to the wheels. So the hybrid goes from zero-to-60 miles per hour in 10.1 seconds. Fortunately, both businesses and consumers are doing their part and enjoying the performance, environmental and financial advantages of electric vehicles. To that end, a new Environmental Assistance network has been launched to provide Toyota Industrial Equipment's lift truck dealers with environmental management information. The training materials, referrals and toll-free hotline are similar to the program set up for automotive dealers. What's more, the company's entire range of these electric powered products offers unparalleled productivity, maximum battery life, programmability and a long service life. How To Help Many Americans are urging legislators to help put us on the road to such advantages by instituting tax credits for hybrid vehicles, access to car-pool lanes for them and funding for hydrogen fueling stations. Anyone can write, on either side of this or any issue, to the U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510 and the House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515. For more information on electric vehicles for your business, visit www.toyotaforklift.com. With modern technology we are going way beyond the electric vehicles of the past, toward a cleaner, safer future.