Toyota Soon Launching Plug-In Hybrid Rentals

June 3, 2009

(ChattahBox)—At the end of this year Toyota is set to roll out a small fleet of plug-in hybrid vehicles, that will run on lithium-ion batteries and be made available for rental in the U.S., Japan and Europe. The new vehicles would be more fuel efficient than the automaker’s popular Prius.

This is one more step forward towards a future of low-cost, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles, with the old gas-guzzlers soon to become relics of the past.

Current Toyota hybrids now use nickel-metal hydride batteries. This new plug-in hybrid would be the first Toyota vehicle to use a lithium-based battery, which would provide the car with the ability to travel longer distances without the need to recharge.

The Prius is the best selling hybrid vehicle in the world and the carmaker can barely keep up with demand. But Toyota is not immune to the recession and the collapse of the auto industry, just posting its worst loss in nearly a decade.

Toyota plans to deliver 200 plug-in rentals to Japan, 150 to the U.S. and 150 to Europe, through government-backed incentive programs.

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