Toyota will offer first plug-in hybrid cars

To save the environment, more and more auto makers are moving into making hybrid-electric vehicles the type of vehicles that can feed on bio oil and use batteries alternatively, which the main objective is to improve fuel efficiency. Now, Toyota, as the leader of green auto makers, has announced that it’d build its first plug-in hybrid car by 2010. The plug-in hybrid is different from the current hybrid models, which allows recharging of the batteries from any ordinary power outlet. Conventional hybrids are recharged by power generated by the wheels.

The plug-in hybrid vehicle that is to be developed by Toyota, will run on lithium-ion batteries, instead of the nickel-metal hydride batteries that power the Prius and other Toyota models. The plug-in hybrid and lithium-ion powered vehicles are said to be capable of achieving fuel efficiency of 99.9 miles-per-gallon in electric mode. But it can only go up to 7 miles on pure battery power.

Toyota will unveil the models that will have plug-in hybrid versions available at the 2009 Detroit auto show. The new lithium-ion-equipped vehicles will first be made available to Toyota’s commercial customers — such as government agencies and corporations.

The announcement of Toyota is seen as a strong competitor to GM, which has also announced that they’d produce their own plug-ins around the same time.