Motor Corp. says its new plug-in Prius hybrid-electric vehicle slated to take its public bow at the Frankfurt auto show next week will be capable of traveling 12 miles (19 km) and achieve highway speeds in electric-only mode.
Beginning late this year, the auto maker will deliver 500 Prius PHVs worldwide in a demonstration program, including about 150 that will be placed with select U.S. lease-fleet customers for market and engineering analysis.
doesn’t say when the vehicle will be ready for retail sale.
Unlike the standard Prius, the Prius PHV will use lithium-ion, rather than nickel-metal-hydride, batteries. Panasonic EV Energy Co. Ltd., owned 60% by Toyota, will supply the batteries.
Toyota says the batteries were developed in-house by Toyota Research and Development and that a “dedicated battery development team is already working on the next battery beyond lithium.”
The 150 U.S. vehicles will be placed strategically across the country to ensure development of a charging infrastructure nationwide, the auto maker says.
“The greatest hurdle in bringing to market a reliable lithium battery is mass production,” Irv Miller, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. group vice president-environmental and public affairs, says in a statement. “We must have a production process that guarantees each battery will be identical in performance and quality.
“Although we like to be first to market with these technologies, it’s more important that we are best to market,” he adds. “This demonstration program will ensure that the vehicles we bring to market will not just meet customer expectations, but exceed them.”