TOKYO – Japanese auto makers continued dominating the hybrid- and electric-vehicle markets in 2012, with sales growing to an estimated 1.6 million units, more than 85% of global demand.

Toyota and Honda were the industry leaders in hybrids while Nissan, despite failing to meet its sales targets for the Leaf EV, was still the hands-down winner in the all-electric segment.

Toyota sold a record 1.2 million units, almost all hybrids. The auto maker now has 22 HEVs in its lineup including seven Lexus models. The latest, the IS300h, was launched in mid-May.

By 2015, Toyota plans to introduce 17 new or revised-model hybrids. Of its current hybrid lineup, all but two (the Prius plug-in and 7-seat Prius v) use nickel-metal-hydride batteries supplied by Primearth EV Energy, a Toyota subsidiary.

The plug-in Prius, fitted with a 4.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, was the second best-selling plug-in hybrid in 2012, trailing only the Chevrolet Volt extended-range.

Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper reports Toyota will switch to Li-ion batteries for the next-generation Prius due in 2015.

Although Toyota has been cool toward EV technology, believing fuel-cell vehicles offer a better long-term solution to global warming, the auto maker nevertheless launched all-electric versions of the Scion iQ and RAV4 in 2012. Both are limited-production models and management has given no indication when it might mass-produce them.

Current plans call for selling 2,600 RAV4 EVs over a 3-year period. The cross/utility vehicle, on sale since September, is produced at Toyota Motor Mfg. Canada using key drivetrain components from Tesla including a 41.8-kWh battery pack.

In the case of the iQ, sales will be limited to fleet programs and restricted to 100 units globally, including 90 in the U.S.