The Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported that Toyota said it intends to bring about 500 of the new plug-in version of its best-selling hybrid to fleet customers by the end of 2009 and will test the vehicles in a French government fleet.
Reuters reported that Toyota plans to sell its new plug-in Prius at a price close to that of Mitsubishi's promised all-electric car, which will be sold to fleet customers in Japan this month for about 4.59 million yen ($47,800). That's without government subsidies of roughly $15,000 in Japan, which would lower the cost to buyers to about $30,000.
The new plug-in Prius will be powered by lithium-ion batteries developed and built in a joint venture with Panasonic EV Energy Co. That's a departure from the nickel metal hydride batteries in the gasoline-electric Prius hybrids on the road now.
The plug-in Prius will be able to go about 12 to 18 miles on battery power alone before its gasoline-powered engine kicks in, according to Reuters.
General Motors plans to have its plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt on sale late next year. Ford has also said it will have a plug-in hybrid vehicle by 2012, though it will precede those with an all-electric commercial van in 2010 and an all-electric passenger car in 2011.