Toyota Promises plug-in Hybrid by 2010

June 11, 2008 11:27:43 AM PDT
Toyota plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid using next-generation lithium-ion batteries in the U.S., Japan and Europe by 2010. That's part of its new green strategy unveiled today. Toyota says the the ecological gas-electric vehicles, which can be recharged from a home electrical outlet, will target leasing customers. Plug-in hybrids can run longer as an electric vehicle than regular hybrids, and are cleaner.

Lithium-ion batteries, now common in laptops, produce more power and are smaller than nickel-metal hydride batteries used in hybrids now.

The joint venture that Toyota set up with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic products, will begin producing lithium-ion batteries in 2009 and move into full-scale production in 2010.

Japan's top automaker, which leads the industry in gas-electric hybrids, has said it will rev up hybrid sales to 1 million a year sometime after 2010.