If you think Toyota's happy to rest upon the green laurels of its Prius and other hybrid models, think again. Company officials revealed the automaker's targets include launching six new hybrid-electric vehicles and a two electric cars -- including a new RAV4 EV -- by the end of 2012.
According to Reuters, Toyota product development executive Takeshi Uchiyamada spoke extensively about the company's future green vehicles at a recent conference in Detroit. Uchiyamada didn't reveal much about five of those models, but he did expound upon one -- the Prius plug-in hybrid, which has previously been shown to the public in prototype form.
Unsurprisingly, Toyota hopes the Prius PHEV will compete against the 2011 Chevrolet Volt -- but don't expect the two cars to mirror each other in either specification or pricing. Uchiyamada said a Prius PHEV will only be able to travel 13 miles on electricity (in comparison to the Volt's 40-mile range), but it will come in at a much lower price tag: $28,000, or roughly $3000-$5000 more than a standard Prius.
"[We want pricing] so close to the current version that customers really have to hesitate and think about it," Uchiyamada told Reuters. "Over time, we would like to offer the option of paying more for a bigger battery and longer range, but that won't be possible with the first version."
Uchiyamada also spoke briefly on Toyota's electric car plans, powered in part by a recent partnership with Tesla Motors. Toyota's own engineers are behind a low-range, low-cost electric urban vehicle due in 2012, but Tesla will have had a hand in developing the new RAV4 EV. Specific details on that vehicle are still unknown, but Toyota plans on unveiling a gussied-up prototype in November at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Source: Reuters, Toyota