As would-be rivals Nissan and Volkswagen begin their first tentative steps into the hybrid and electric arenas, veteran Toyota has announced it is taking the first steps toward building a third hybrid battery plant. The second plant was announced last week.

Toyota's stated goal of increasing hybrid production to over 1 million vehicles per year in the near future means the company must develop more battery capacity, reports the Associated Press. Because the timeline for reaching the million-hybrid mark is a short one, Toyota expects to have the new plant online by 2010.

Curiously, both of the new plants are designed to manufacture nickel-metal hydride batteries rather than the next-generation lithium-ion batteries competitors like Nissan and VW are working on.

The new plant will be responsible for 200,000 batteries assemblies per year once it is at full capacity. Ramp-up will take some time, and until then production will be nearer 100,000 units. That leaves about 80-90% of Toyota's requisite production to the other two plants.