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Monday, December 14, 2009

Toyota Officially Launches Plug-in Prius Mass Production begins 2011

On Monday Toyota officially announced the launch of the plug-in version of its 3rd generation Prius, calling it the Prius Plug-in Hybrid. Leasing will start immediately.

Deliveries of approximately 600 units will take place throughout the first half of 2010 in Europe, the US, and Asia. These will be offered by lease to selected fleet programs, and not consumers.

The car is equipped with a 5.3 kwh lithium-ion battery pack and has an all-electric range of 14.5 miles. Top speed in EV-mode will be 62 MPH.

The car will use its 1.8 L gasoline engine whenever power demands are high right from the start of operation, which is different that the Volt which will use electricity only for all driving needs in its first 40 miles of operation.

Toyota reports the car averages 134 MPG on the extremely conservative Japanese JC08 test cycle, not taking charging into effect.

Toyota plans to use the learnings from the fleet testing to develop a retail production version of the vehicle, and will begin selling and mass producing them in 2011.

According to Toyota’s Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota aims to sell “tens of thousands” of plug-in cars globally each year.

Pricing is unknown but Mr. Uchiyamada said it will be “affordable.”

A less expensive smaller pure electric car will also go on sale in 2012.

Toyota’s lithium ion batteries will be made through a joint venture with Panasonic.

Toyota states the car can be recharged from a standard electric outlet.


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