Larger, lithium-powered Prius next year
Starting next year, according to an unconfirmed report coming out of Japan, Toyota will begin producing a larger Prius-derived hybrid that will use a lithium-ion battery pack. Sources indicate the new hybrid will be either an SUV or station wagon and cost about $22,0000.
Toyota has brought up the idea of expanding the Prius line for years, so this news isn't that surprising. However, the fact that Toyota will utilize lithium is interesting.
Recently, Toyota claimed that 30 percent of all vehicle sales will be hybrid by 2020. However, Toyota has perpetually had a hard time producing enough NiMH batteries for its current hybrid cars. So, this seems to indicate that lithium will be integral to Toyota achieving its future production plans, and it won't just be lithium plug-ins, but lithium conventional hybrids as well.