Toyota will have some plug-in hybrids on the street...before the end of this year. The new models will reportedly get more miles per gallon of gas than Toyota's popular Prius which recharges itself. But there'll only be a few hundred of the new models running this year. This next-generation Toyota will be the corporation's first to use lithium-ion batteries. The current Prius models have the older style nickel-metal hydride battery. The new generation "traditional" Prius just went on sale in Japan where it's selling faster than the car can be made, thanks in some part to government lifting taxes on new hyrbids there. This move with plug-ins gives Toyota bragging rights over automakers like bankrupt GM which hopes to introduce its plug-in Volt next year...if all goes well. Now that's not a sure bet with GM behind the wheel. These cars will be Toyota's first with lithium-ion batteries which cost more than the previous battery types, but also provide more energy for a longer period of time. It also underlines the importance of financial and investment considerations around who will make the world's much-vaunted lithium-ion batteries for the next gen cars. Toyota's new plug-ins will be specially converted Priuses. They are to go 12 miles on electricity only before needing any gasoline. Thgese first Toyota plug-ins will be leased to government and corporate customers. You will not be allowed to buy one.
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