Plug It In, Plug It In

Your car, that is:
Toyota Motor said Monday that it planned a widespread release of its plug-in hybrid car in 2011 as the company scrambled to gain the upper hand in an increasingly crowded battle over next-generation “green” technology.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, dominates the current generation of gas-electric hybrid vehicles, but it has refrained from rushing lower-emission cars like the plug-in hybrid to market. Instead, Toyota has focused on plans to introduce regular hybrid technology to all its models by 2020.

But Toyota’s rivals are surging ahead. General Motors plans to build as many as 60,000 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids a year, starting in late 2010. Other automakers, including Ford and Volkswagen, have announced their own plug-in models, and Nissan plans to mass-produce a fully electric car in 2010.

Toyota is now increasing its pace. “Several tens of thousands” of the plug-in version of its Prius hybrid will go on sale in 2011, the automaker said Monday. A small number of the plug-in models will be available for lease later this month as planned, but those will be limited to government and corporate clients in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Head nod: TreeHugger