Fuel economy has done wonders for Toyota’s bottom line, so the hybrid pioneer has decided to add a plug-in to its lineup by 2010 and will have a hybrid version of every vehicle it makes sometime in the 2020s. Why so long? Because new batteries have to be developed in order to make the plan work.
C|Net News on the Plug-in:
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.
Meanwhile, Toyota has been working with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co to develop batteries that will outperform lithium-ion batteries for its plans to introduce hybrid versions of every single car in its lineup between 2020 and 2029. If that seems too far away, the next generation Prius, due next year, will use NiMH batteries.