The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp. plans to begin commercial production in 2012 of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Output for the first year is estimated at 20,000 to 30,000 units.
The plug-ins will use Li-ion batteries produced by Toyota’s joint venture with Panasonic Corp., Panasonic EV Energy Co. (PEVE). PEVE provides the NiMH packs for current Toyota hybrids. The report suggests that the 2012 plug-in hybrids will have an all-electric range of 20-30km (12-18 miles).
Through economies of scale, Toyota hopes to sell its new plug-in hybrids at a price comparable to Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s i-MiEV electric car, which is slated to debut later this month with a price tag of 4.59 million yen [about US$47,700].
Toyota foresees demand for its plug-in hybrids from not only businesses, but also consumers. And it plans to sell them in overseas markets as well, such as the US, Europe and Asia.
In June, Toyota announced that it will begin leasing approximately 200 plug-in versions of its third-generation Prius equipped with lithium-ion battery packs in Japan starting at the end of this year. This will be the first time a lithium-ion battery is to be employed in a Toyota vehicle for propulsion. (Earlier post.)