Toyota Joins GM in Race for 2010 Plug-In Hybrids

Drivers could recharge cars with normal socket
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2008 4:15 AM CST
In this artist rendering released by Toyota Motor Corp. ahead of Tokyo Motor Show, which opens to public in Chiba, east of Tokyo, on Oct. 27, 2007, a plug-in hybrid sports-utility vehicle, "Hi-CT," is...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Toyota, the world's leader in hybrid vehicle production, has geared up to deliver by 2010 a gas-electric hybrid car whose batteries will recharge from a normal electrical socket. With the announcement yesterday at the Detroit auto show, Toyota pits itself against General Motors, which has also pledged a plug-in hybrid by 2010, Bloomberg reports.

Toyota and GM face a serious obstacle: the lithium-ion batteries both companies plan to use in their plug-in vehicles do not yet exist in a form "suitable for the long-term rigors of everyday automotive use," said a Toyota executive. The batteries are expensive and hard to produce, and can burn if they overheat.