This is the first official picture of Toyota’s Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept, which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show next month.
The plug-in Prius will be the first Toyota to use lithium-ion batteries, which are smaller, lighter and hold more charge than the nickel metal hydride cells the company has used to date.
The car will charge directly from mains supply, and should allow an electric-only range of about 20 miles. More importantly, the use of lithium-ion batteries will improve efficiency over the current Prius when used in conjunction with the petrol engine.
Initially, 150 plug-in Prius's will be distributed across Europe early in 2010 via fleet customers, allowing Toyota to gather data on real world usage and charging routines. Cars will also be trialled in the USA and Japan.
The plug-in Prius is not expected to be built until 2011.