Toyota Promises Lithium–Ion PHEV by 2010
Toyota said earlier today that it is committing to introducing a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) that will use advanced lithium-ion battery technology in the U.S., Europe and Japan by 2010. Plug-in means exactly that; the vehicle will be able to be recharged by plugging it into a standard home electrical outlet. PHEVs can run quite a bit longer on electric power only as compared to a regular hybrid like the current Toyota Prius.
The Prius, which has been on sale for more than a decade, recently reached cumulative sales of 1 million vehicles. Toyota, Japan’s top automaker, and at this point in the year, the world’s top automaker as well, leads the industry in gas-electric hybrids. The company has stated repeatedly as of late that it will increase hybrid sales to 1 million a year sometime after 2010.
Toyota Prius sales actually dropped last month in the U.S., but not because of demand, which has soared in the last three months. Toyota just cannot manufacture enough of the cars, and their battery supplier, Panasonic EV Energy, cannot make enough batteries to install in the cars. A shortage of batteries and limited production capacity are two of the reasons Toyota hasn’t been able to boost production of the Prius to meet tremendous global demand.
The next-generation Prius, which will continue to use the current nickel-metal hydride batteries, is due in 2009.
To that purpose of meeting extraordinarily higher demand, Toyota also announced today that it would introduce two more hybrid models to the U.S. market in 2009; a Lexus and a Toyota. Toyota said the cars would be introduced at the next Detroit Auto Show. The new Toyota hybrid is in addition to the Prius model.
The much-desired lithium ion batteries, lighter in weight and higher in power than the standard nickel-metal hydride batteries, will debut in Toyota’s first plug-in hybrid, which is yet another added model, due in 2010.
Toyota’s announcement comes as competitors like General Motors, Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are pushing hard on their own hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. General Motors maintains that they will selling an electric vehicle (EV) with an emergency supplemental gasoline engine) the Chevrolet Volt) by 2010, and already has several dual-mode hybrids and mild hybrid vehicles for sale. Honda announced last month that it will be selling four hybrid vehicles by 2015, including a hybrid version of their Fit/Jazz, currently a very strong seller in regular form. Almost at the same time as Honda’s announcement, Nissan said it will start mass-producing lithium ion batteries next year, and promised an (EV) production vehicle for sale in 2010.
The competition is getting very fierce in the green car (hybrid, PHEV, EV, etc.) segment.
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