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Report: Toyota to mass-produce plug-ins in 2012

The first plug-in Priuses will be tested next year with plans at Toyota to mass-produce plug-in vehicles in 2012, according to a report in the Nikkei.

Toyota Motor plans to start mass-producing plug-in hybrid cars in 2012, according a report.

The Japanese business newspaper Nikkei said on Saturday that the first year's production is expected to be about 20,000 to 30,000 cars.

Martin LaMonica/CNET

Toyota earlier last year said that it plans to start testing 500 plug-in hybrid Priuses in 2010 for fleet owners.

Current Priuses use nickel metal hydride batteries, but for its plug-in vehicles Toyota plans to use lithium ion batteries developed and made through a joint venture with Panasonic.

The plug-in hybrid cars from Toyota will be able to go between 12 and 18 miles on a battery charge alone, according to the paper, which Reuters cited.

There will be a wave of plug-in electric sedans coming to market over the next two years. In addition to a plug-in Prius, Toyota is making an all-electric city car called the FT-EV, which is expected in 2012.

The highly anticipated 2011 Chevy Volt is scheduled to go into production in late 2010. Unlike a traditional hybrid, the Volt will run entirely off its batteries and use the internal combustion engine to charge the battery for rides longer than 40 miles.