Next year will see the launch of Toyota’s third-generation Prius, and the year after that the introduction of what could possibly the world’s first mass produced plug-in hybrid, however the carmaker is also working on a third eco-friendly technology – the all-electric car. Until now, Toyota had been reluctant to develop all-electric vehicles, but recent comments from its president confirm that the original unwillingness has changed.

The all-electric car will be “mass-produced” in the early 2010s, President Katsuaki Watanabe revealed to Bloomberg reporters in Tokyo this past week. Tests of rechargeable plug-in Prius models, previously set for 2010, were also moved up to late 2009, he revealed. This means that Toyota will likely beat General Motors in the race to launch a plug-in hybrid as the Chevrolet Volt isn’t due to go on sale until late 2010.

Toyota’s all-electric car will be a small city car and will be powered by lithium-ion batteries.

Both Nissan and Mitsubishi have confirmed plans to launch all-electric vehicles by 2010, and even Mercedes-Benz and BMW are looking at the possibility of launching their own versions.