(Business 2.0) -- Japanese automakers may have taken the lead in hybrid technology, but the Brazilians are about to go one better. Rio de Janeiro-based Obvio is set to unveil the world's first "tribrid": a car that captures and reuses the power it generates, like a hybrid, but also runs on both gas and ethanol--and automatically optimizes its engine for whatever mixture of the two you've filled 'er up with. In mid-2007, Obvio will start exporting two tribrid models, each 4 feet shorter than a Mini Cooper. "These will be the only cars in America that can run on 100 percent ethanol," says Steve Schneider of Zap, the only U.S. company with plans to import Obvio's tribrids. Of course, ethanol infrastructure in the States is still in its infancy, but with lawmakers and automakers pushing for greater ethanol production, the tribrid could become the hybrid of the next decade.
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