Goodbye, Prius? Japanese carmakers drop battery electric-car development

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Japan is backtracking on battery electric-car development, as even Nissan’s vice chairman, the so-called “father of the Prius,” announced plans to copy Toyota and pursue fuel-cell cars that convert hydrogen to electricity.

“Because of its shortcomings — driving range, cost and recharging time — the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars,” said Toyota’s vice chairman, Takeshi Uchiyamada, in a Reuters report. “We need something entirely new.”

Toyota Motor Co. — the world’s largest hybrid manufacturer, Reuters reports — recently announced a plan to drop pure electric-car development, also.

The announcement follows a White House decision last week to reduce its goal of 1 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015, Reuters said.

Japan has been trying to develop electric cars for 100 years, Reuters said.

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