Toyota to make plug-in hybrid by 2010

In a break with the Prius, the Japanese carmaker plans to produce lithium ion batteries for a plug-in hybrid fleet of vehicles geared toward customers in Japan, the States, and Europe.

Toyota Motor plans to produce lithium ion batteries next year for a plug-in hybrid vehicle available in 2010.

The company on Wednesday said that the plug-in hybrid will be "geared toward fleet customers in Japan, (the) United States, and Europe."

A joint venture between Toyota and Panasonic EV Energy plans to begin production of lithium ion batteries next year and move to full-scale production in 2010. Using the battery, Toyota plans to introduce a small electric vehicle for mass production.

Toyota's Prius, numbering a million sold, uses a nickel metal hydride battery. Lithium ion batteries, which are heavily used in consumer electronics, are being built into an upcoming generation of hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

Later in the month, Toyota plans to establish a research-and-development center for next-generation batteries that outperform lithiom ion batteries.

The company, which also continues to invest in fuel cell vehicles, recently began a lease program in Japan .

Toyota disclosed on Wednesday its plug-in hybrid production plans at a company-sponsored environmental forum in Tokyo, where it outlined its greenhouse gas reduction and clean-technology plans.

 

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