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The Alpha Prius

And the Toyota Prius expands

Next March Toyota will debut a new Prius-derivative, the Alpha Prius, that will offer an extra row of seating as well a new lithium-ion battery pack. And according to early reports, pricing on the new Prius will be aggressive.

While the new Prius will be built upon the same hybrid powertrain and platform as the current Toyota Prius, it will be about a foot longer, in addition to using the new lithium battery – the same battery technology that will also power the upcoming plug-in Prius.

According to MotorTrend the new battery pack will weigh 1/3 that of the current NiMH pack. And while Toyota will price the Alpha Prius aggressively to compete with any non-hybrid competition, the battery pack does add costs compared to NiMH. Consequently, Toyota will also offer a new five seat Prius derivative that will continue to use NiMH in order to achieve a cheaper price tag.