Friday, September 17, 2010

Toyota produces more hybrids and Plug-in electric cars

While Toyota has been a leader in hybrid vehicles, it has been criticized as slow to develop pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids that get part of their energy from the electric grid.

Toyota is promising to introduce a plug-in Prius and two all-electric cars, as well as six more hybrids, within the next few years. In a speech in Detroit yesterday, Toyota’s head of product development, Takeshi Uchiyamada, said the plug-in Prius will be the cheapest plug-in hybrid on the market when it debuts in mid 2012 with a $3,000 to $5,000 price premium over the standard Prius hybrid. This represents about a six-month delay of the plug-in Prius, compared with earlier reports. Toyota currently has about 50 plug-in Priuses in service in demonstration fleets.
The two pure electric cars, expected by the end of 2012, are likely to be a version of Scion’s upcoming iQ city car and a new electric version of the RAV4, which Toyota is bringing to the Los Angeles Auto Show Toyota is rumored to be working on the new RAV4 EV with its new electric-vehicle partner, Tesla, which is headquartered in California. The first-generation RAV4 Electric remains one of the most successful EVs to date, with hundreds still on the road in California and California EV maker ZAP creating knockoffs for taxi service.

Toyota is just the latest automaker racing to expand its lineup of cars that use electric power. Along with Ford, Nissan, BMW, Mitsubishi, General Motors and others, a new wave of electrified transportation is gaining momentum.

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