Toyota will start volume manufacturing of the Plug-in Prius in 2012 according to Reuters. 2012 manufacturing of 20,000 to 30,000 Toyota Prius PHEV are expected. Toyota has not yet finalized 2012 pricing. Full featured models may be priced from $40,000 to $50,000 and be competitive with the Chevy Volt in the U.S., Ford’s PHEV offerings, and the Mitsubishi EV in Japan. The added lithium batteries in the plug-in version of the Prius will make it priced much higher than the hybrid Prius.
Toyota is currently leasing 500 plug-in Priuses in Japan and the United States in fleet demonstrations. Not waiting for a commercial plug-in from Toyota, several hundred have converted their Prius to a plug-in using kits such as the A123 Hymotion.
Reuters reports that the Toyota’s plug-ins will be able to run 20-30 km (12.4-18.6 miles) on lithium-ion batteries produced by its joint venture with Panasonic EV Energy Co.
In 2012, Toyota will also start selling the less expensive 2-door FT-EV, a pure battery electric vehicle. In the U.S. in 2012 Toyota will face intense EV competition with Nissan, Ford, and dozens of innovative younger companies such as Tesla.