Toyota to launch 10 new hybrid models by 2010, 500 plug-in Priuses to be leased late 2009

During the unveiling of the 2010 Prius at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, Toyota said that although BEVs and small-vehicles like the iQ will be a key component to the company’s sustainable mobility strategy, the conventional gas-electric hybrid will be Toyota’s long-term core powertrain technology focus. Toyota plans on selling more than one-million gas-electric hybrids a year sometime during early 2010. To reach its goal, Toyota said it will launch as many as 10 new hybrid models by 2010. The first two examples of that are the third-generation Toyota Prius and the all new Lexus HS250h.

Toyota also announced that it will roll-out a large number of plug-in hybrid Prius vehicles a year earlier than planned. Beginning in later this year (originally scheduled for 2010) Toyota will globally lease 500 Prius PHVs powered by lithium-ion batteries. 150 of the plug-in Prius models will come to the U.S.

The Japanese automaker said that the third-generation Prius was designed and engineered to package either a lithium-ion battery pack with plug-in capability or a the nickel-metal hydride battery for the conventional gas-electric system.

The 500 Toyota Prius PHVs will be used for market and engineering analysis. Toyota will monitor the performance and durability of its first-generation lithium-ion battery during the customer leases and will study how consumers respond to the plug-in process.

2010 Toyota Prius: