|Nov 14, 2009
||Posted By: Mark Bilek
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Could the 2010 Prius be the anchor for a whole line of hybrid vehicles from
According a report out of Japan, Toyota is planning to produce a larger version of its popular Prius hybrid by the end of next year. The new model will be either a station wagon, crossover, or SUV and sport a lithium-ion battery pack.
Though Toyota officially declined to comment, it is well known that the Japanese automaker has been working on auto-specific lithium-ion batteries for years, and has a joint venture with Japanese electronics maker Panasonic Corporation to develop them for cars.
Similar to the batteries used in cell phones and laptop computers. Lithium-ion batteries can store more energy than the nickel-metal hydride batteries currently used in hybrid vehicles. Automakers and battery companies have been working fast and furious to reduce costs and solve overheating issues as they rush these more efficient batteries to market.
According to the report in the nationally-circulated Yomiuri newspaper, this larger hybrid would sell for about 2 million yen ($22,000) and could be branded Prius as Toyota looks to expand on the popularity of its strong-selling hybrid.