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Toyota pushes hybrid mileage limit

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

How about a hybrid car that gets 56 miles per gallon? That's what Toyota is aiming for by developing a new semiconductor chip that will improve the fuel efficiency of its hybrid cars.

It is hoping it will improve the gas mileage of its hybrids, such as the Prius by up to 10 percent. The Prius currently is rated at 51 miles per gallon, according to estimates.

The new semiconductor chips are made from silicon carbide, which is one of the hardest materials in nature after diamonds. The material theoretically has one-tenth of the electrical power loss and 10 times the drive frequency, allowing it to reduce the size of its current auto power control units by 80 percent.

Toyota plans to test drive cars with the new technology on public roads in Japan next year with the goal of commercializing the technology by 2020.

Thinking about buying a hybrid car? Read Is a hybrid right for you?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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