PLUG OK license plate
Toyota Edges Closer on PHEVs with Consumer Reseach; Suggests Partnerships
Mar 4, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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In the past, Toyota has disclosed it is "developing" PHEVs; now, to placate eager customers, it says it's also "doing consumer research." Could this be a response to its earlier admission that 39% of respondents to Toyota's own survey want the Prius to be a PHEV­calcars-news/­694.html?

In the wake of Toyota's announcement that the 2009 Prius will have lithium-ion batteries but no plug­calcars-news/­700.html, the company continues to repeat its new message: We want to do it -- but we won't because we don't have perfect batteries. The company proposes partnerships with other automakers on batteries. This is a smaller step than GM, which in early January announced development contracts with two battery consortia­calcars-news/­633.html. It also seems somewhat beside the point for a company with a larger market capitalization than most other major car-makers combined -- and for a company that owns a controlling interest in PEVE (Panasonic EV Energy, a joint venture between Toyota and Matsushita).

Toyota developing plug-in hybrid, researching market Fri Mar 2, 2007 12:44PM EST­article/­businessNews/­idUSN0223226920070302

DETROIT (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp. is working on developing a plug-in hybrid vehicle and is open to joining with other automakers in battery development, the president of its North American operations said on Friday.

Toyota, which leads the market in hybrid sales, has not detailed plans to build a plug-in, although some environmental groups have modified its top-selling Prius hybrid so that it can be recharged with an electrical outlet.

"We are doing consumer research right now as well as product development," Toyota North America President Jim Press told Reuters in an interview, when asked about plug-in hybrid development.

Press added the biggest challenge would be developing the next-generation battery, which Toyota is now working on internally. "We would be quite open to any kind of sharing," Press said of a possible alliance on battery development with other automakers.

Press also said Toyota would not be opposed to buying existing plants from other automakers as it expands its capacity in North America.

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