Plugging into Toyota's hybrid focus
While most details have yet to be revealed, plug-in Prius pricing and a few predictions were also noteworthy.
Of the six new hybrid vehicles, at least one will be a dedicated hybrid, but few other details were provided. However, Toyota has been working on a smaller-than Prius hybrid, as well as a sporty hybrid. Additionally, Toyota has also modeled at least one hybrid pickup truck concept that almost went into production. Overall, however, most of this hybrid news isn't that new.
On the more interesting side of this story, however, Takeshi Uchiyamada, executive vice president in charge of research and global vehicle development, stated that he believes that by 2030, hybrid cars will account for 30 percent of sales. While Toyota has forecast that number in the past, Uchiyamada believes that plug-in hybrids will account for the majority of hybrid sales by then.
Currently, according to the DetroitNews, the price of the plug-in Prius should come in around $3000 – $5000 more than a conventional car, which would put the price of the plug-in Prius near today's conventional Prius price. While their might be some fuzziness around those numbers, that would put the price of a plug-in Prius at $25,000 or less, without any tax credits.
While Uchiyamada was less bullish on the viability of pure electric vehicles through at least the next decade, Toyota will still offer a small plug-in with 50 miles of EV range, as well as a Toyota RAV 4 plug-in with 100 miles of EV range before the end of 2012.
Additionally, Uchiyamada predicted that the auto industry would move beyond lithium, and that Toyota would begin leasing fuel cell vehicles by 2015 in areas with a hydrogen infrastructure in place.