High on the list of tools Toyota plans to use to reach its lofty goal is the plug-in hybrid. As evidenced at the Frankfurt Motor Show this year, the plug-in hybrid model is the next step for the hybrid industry. Testing of plug-in hybrids is already scheduled to begin soon in the U.S., Europe and Japan, reports Automotive News. Toyota’s plug-in hybrids will sport lithium-ion batteries developed in conjunction with Panasonic EV Energy Co. to help maximize electric capacity.
Honda, on the other hand, is “not really convinced” that plug-in hyrids are the way of the future. Costs are higher and efficiency is not much different from current non-plug-in hybrids except over short distances, and even then only if the vehicle is run in electric-only mode. Toyota itself has expressed concern that plug-ins are too costly to justify production, but it has come to believe that smaller, lighter lithium-ion batteries will fix that problem.
In addition to hybridizing its existing line-up, Toyota will introduce new, hybrid-only models in hopes to meet its annual sales goal of one million hybrids.