According to a Reuters story, Toyota will launch Prius hybrid minivans using lithium-ion batteries early next year.
A lithium-ion battery can pack more electricity than a nickel-metal hydride counterpart, enabling a hybrid car to run longer on a single charge.
Toyota plans to keep the price of the new Prius model at a level similar to those of current models as it aims to strengthen its lead in the hybrid market.
Given this new story’s comments about both the use of these batteries and the price, it would be interesting to know what mountains have moved in the last six months because back in September stories like this were claiming that Toyota was going to retrench and stick with NiMH batteries because Li-ion versions would be cost-prohibitive in the marketplace.
BTW, part of this story has it that Toyota and Panasonic are perusing a joint venture to produce the batteries at some future date.