Toyota announces plug-in hybrid by 2010
Toyota has announced its intention to sell a plug-in hybrid vehicle by 2010 at the Detroit Motor Show.
The move follows General Motors´ plans to introduce its own plug-in - the Chevrolet Volt - by 2010 and is sure to ramp up competition between the two automotive giants, with GM keen to hang on to its crown of biggest-selling US manufacturer.
The hybrids can be plugged into a normal power outlet, recharging lithium-ion batteries instead of the nickel batteries currently used in hybrids. The former have a greater range.
In normal hybrids energy is recovered from energy overrun and braking at the wheels.
Plug-in hybrids can claim to emit zero carbon dioxide, if the energy used to recharge them comes from renewable sources, but the environmental benefit is unclear if the power is derived from fossil-fuel-burning sources.
Toyota has sold more than 800,000 Prius cars worldwide since 1997.