Toyota plans 6 new hybrid vehicles by 2012, electric-cars on the way

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Toyota, which unlike its rivals doesn’t really have much for the ‘electric-car’ segment, is ready to electrify its ‘green’ vehicle lineup. According to reports, Toyota plans to add six hybrid vehicles to its global lineup by 2012 and could have two electric cars in the U.S. market by that time.

While Toyota has been slower to roll out all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles than rivals Nissan and General Motors, Toyota’s product development chief Takeshi Uchiyamada says that the plug-in version of the Prius will be positioned to be the cheapest car of its kind by 2012. Toyota spokesman John Hanson said that the plug-in version of the Toyota Prius should be available by June 2012 and that the company expects to sell about 20,000 units in the first year with prices coming in at a $3,000 to $5,000 premium over the standard Prius. That would bring the price of the plug-in version of the Prius, which can run on battery power for the first 13 miles, at below $28,000. Its direct competitor, the Chevrolet Volt, which can run on battery power for 40 miles, is selling at $41,000.

Uchiyamada said that Toyota is aiming to have a plug-in version of its Prius priced “so close to the current version that customers really have to hesitate and think about it.” He said that “over time, we would like to offer consumers the option of paying more for a bigger battery and longer range, but that won’t be possible with the first version.”

Uchiyamada also said that Toyota will offer low cost fully-electric vehicles in 2012. The automaker confirmed yesterday that it will unveil an electric version of the RAV4 powered by a Tesla Motors powertrain at the 2010 LA Auto Show in November.

So Toyota plug-in hybrids and EVs are on the way – but pricing will be very competitive. We guess you should wait to jump in on the EV segment.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Reuters