TOKYO, Dec. 14 (UPI) — Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. said it would be ready for a large scale release of a plug-in Prius vehicle by 2011.
In the world of alternative-fueled vehicles, the race is on between major companies. General Motors Corp. expects to sell the Chevrolet Volt plug-in at a rate of 60,000 per year by late 2010, The New York Times reported Monday.
Volkswagen, Ford, and Nissan have electric cars in various stages of development.
Toyota did not give a specific number, but said “several tens of thousands,” of plug-in Prius hybrids would be in showrooms in 2011.
A plug-in Prius will also be available for leasing this year, but the availability is expected to be sparse, while Toyota evaluates feedback from drivers.
The plug in Prius is rated at 134 miles per gallon and is expected to drive about 14.5 miles using a lithium-ion battery. When the battery wears down, power switches over to a hybrid gas and electric engine.
It is expected to cost half as much to drive for short trips than a regular Prius if the owner charges the vehicle at night, when electric rates are cheaper.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International