Toyota will launch its Prius + in the European market with seven seats, two more than the five-seat Pruis v variant that will be sold in the US.
It has been revealed that this is down to the batteries both variants use as well as greater demand for the hybrid vehicle in the US.
According to Guillaume Gerondeau, Toyota Europe’s Vice President of product planning and marketing: “The US Prius uses nickel batteries which are located in the boot of the car, whereas the European version will have lithium-ion batteries stored in the front.
“The nickel batteries are bigger and have to be located in the boot, leaving no room for the extra row of seats. The European version, however, has more space for this to be made possible."
Gerondeau added: “The demand for the Prius in the US is such, that they want it now,” but said a seven-seat variant wasn’t necessarily what Prius customers wanted. "Demand for it isn’t strong enough in the US. Cars with such accommodation are much bigger in the US market so the Prius will be too small."
Both the Prius + and the hybrid Yaris are being lined up for European debuts at next month’s Geneva motor show.