Toyota doesn’t expect plug-in hybrid cars to be a huge success until battery performance doubles. The Japanese auto maker doesn’t even see a significant market that would purchase a plug-in hybrid as of yet.
Plug-in hybrids will take off “when we have better batteries,” Yoshitaka Asakura, a manager in Toyota’s hybrid vehicle system engineering division told Automotive News. When batteries offer “two times the energy storage capacity in the same space, then we can see plug-in hybrids,” he says.
If the current Prius were to become a plug-in hybrid that could go at least 37 miles on battery power alone, it would require 12 times the battery power in the current Prius. That battery would fill up the hatchback, Asakura said.
Adding plug-ins to that will add “just a little more” in sales. Asakura refused to comment on the chances of Toyota’s using lithium ion batteries, rather than the Prius’ current nickel-metal hydride batteries, which offers less energy than lithium ion.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
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