About the Hybrid’s Future. . . .

There are a number of fabulous failed tech predictions, like Thomas Watson’s 1943 comment, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers,” and he was chairman of what was to become IBM at the time.

There are a number of fabulous failed tech predictions, like Thomas Watson’s 1943 comment, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers,” and he was chairman of what was to become IBM at the time.

Arguably, Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corp., was even more off the mark in 1977 when he stated, "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”

Now we all, effectively, carry computers in our pockets.

T

Hybrids, one and all.

Back at the turn of this century, the concept of hybrid cars seemed fairly absurd, to those in Detroit, in particular.

Marketing gimmicks at most.

Even European automakers seemed to think that cars didn’t need electrification, they needed dieselification (and now not only are they offering hybrids, but they are jumping to full electric vehicles).

Maybe the predictions of the hybrid’s irrelevance isn’t as grand as Watson’s or Olson’s comments (Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, 1995: “I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse”), but Toyota’s bet on the tech seems to be paying off quite well.

Toyota has calculated that since the first Prius was made available in Japan in 1997—the year that it delivered 300—to today, when it has an array of hybrids beyond the Prius, an array that includes forms like Lexus luxury hybrids and even SUVs, they’ve delivered 8,048,400 hybrids (through July ’15) on a global basis.

The North American market accounts for 2,789,100 hybrid sales.

Some gimmick.

Who would have predicted it?