Toyota Explores Plug-in Prius

All-electric version of hot-selling car could be only a few years away
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2007 11:48 AM CST
A Toyota Prius hybrid compact car is exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show in Makuhari, east of Tokyo, in this file photo. Toyota is exploring a plug-in version. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, FILE)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.