Toyota May Launch Lithium-Ion Prius Minivan Hybrid in 2011

Toyota Sienna

In brief: Nikkei reports that Toyota will introduce a new Prius Minivan using lithium-ion batteries sometimes early next year.

Vehicle in the news

Make/Model: Prius Minivan
Manufacturer: Toyota Motor Corp

The word

Toyota Sienna minivan

Toyota will be, reportedly, rolling out several hybrids over the next few years that will drop the current Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries being used in favor of lithium-ion cells. Toyota has tested li-ion batteries, but claimed they were not cost-effective.

The new Prius minivan would be released in early 2011 with a spacious interior and similar economy to the sedan thanks to the addition of the li-ion batteries.

Toyota is said to be manufacturing the batteries for this at the Teiho factor in Aichi Prefecture in a joint venture with Panasonic.

And so ...

An interesting development if it proves to be true. If so, Toyota will likely begin marketing the van very soon - perhaps they are only waiting for the recall heat to cool off.

Photo credits: Toyota

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