Toyota is launching a three-year study of US consumer demand for a new version of the popular Prius that could run exclusively on electric power and be recharged in a standard electric socket. Toyota may yet beat rival General Motors to market—GM has set a 2010 target date for its plug-in hybrid, the Chevrolet Volt, Reuters reports.
The study, to be focused in California, where hybrids are most popular, will examine driving and recharging behavior, consumer attitudes toward plug-in cars, and how much electricity a plugged-in car takes from the power grid. Environmental advocates are pushing automakers to bring plug-in vehicles to market. Toyota counters that it is critical to do good research first.