The leader in hybrid technology, Toyota will make a big push into further electrifying its fleet when it begins retails sales of the Prius Plug-In Hybrid, as well as two fully electric vehicles, next year. Toyota has confirmed that along with the Prius PHEV, it will begin selling an electric version of the RAV4 compact crossover, as well as a fully-electric version of the Scion iQ mini-car.
Toyota has partnered with Tesla Motors and displayed the RAV4 EV Demonstration Vehicle at the LA Auto Show last year, using the start-up American electric car company's battery technology. The vehicle weights 220-lbs more than the standard model, but has acceleration on-par with its gasoline counterpart and manages to retain all of the 74 cu-ft of cargo room. Toyota is targeting a 100 mile range.
The second full-EV to hit dealers will be an electric version of the Scion iQ, with a gasoline-powered version arriving later this year. Using lithium-ion batteries under the floor it will retain the 3+1 passenger layout and improve the car's center of gravity. Toyota is targeting a 65 mile range for this vehicle, designed for inter-city use.
Before those, however, Toyota will take its next step in developing the Prius, releasing the Prius PHEV. With a lithium-ion battery pack it will deliver 12 miles of emissions-free driving before operating more like a conventional hybrid. It isn't expected to get nearly the same efficiency as the Chevy Volt, but will be priced just slightly higher than the conventional Prius, making it a higher-volume, more mainstream model.
More: Toyota Planning Electric Car Blitz in 2012 with Sales of Prius PHEV, RAV4 EV and Scion iQ EV