Toyota has announced that plans to develop a cheaper hybrid vehicle, a competitor for the Insight model which just entered the U.S. market. Toyota officials have revealed that their hybrid will be developed on the current Yaris platform.
“We are developing a low-priced hybrid vehicle like Honda’s Insight. We are going to compete by expanding our hybrid-vehicle lineup to smaller hybrids, in the class of the Vitz and Yaris”, said Akihiko Otsuka, chief engineer involved in developing of the third generation of Toyota Prius.
We know for sure that the future hybrid models will have lithium ion batteries, different from the Prius which incorporates a nickel-metal hydride battery supplied by Panasonic EV Energy. Now, Toyota is working on building its own lithium ion batteries, being an important step in the construction of the next hybrids. Although Toyota did not provide more details about the date of launch of a production version but is expected to be on sale in Japan as early as 2011.