According to Japan's Nikkei news agency, Toyota has decided to start series production of a plug-in version of the Prius hybrid in 2012. At launch, the automaker plans to build about 20,000-30,000 units a year of the plug-in hybrid. The report indicates that the model will be priced comparably to the Mitsubishi i-MiEV at about $48,000. That's a pretty steep price and quite a bit higher than the $40,000 pricetag expected to be applied to the Chevrolet Volt when it arrives late next year, and it also puts the PHEV Prius at about twice the price of a conventional model.
Toyota wants to price its plug-in hybrids at a comparable price to Mitsubishi Motors Corp's (7211.T) all-electric car, which debuts this month to fleet customers in Japan at 4.59 million yen ($47,800) before government subsidies, the Nikkei said, without citing sources.
Toyota's new Prius gasoline-electric hybrid costs less than half that, starting at 2.05 million yen in Japan.
Toyota's plug-ins will be able to run 20-30 km (12.4-18.6 miles) on battery power alone at full charge, the paper said.
Toyota has said the car will be powered by lithium-ion batteries developed and produced by its joint venture with Panasonic Corp (6752.T), Panasonic EV Energy Co.
A Toyota spokesman said the company could not comment on future product plans.
Toyota's plug-in hybrids would fan competition against General Motors Corp's (GMGMQ.PK) much-hyped Chevy Volt plug-in, which can also be charged at home through an electric socket.