TOYOTA'S PRESENCE AT Frankfurt this month will be all about hybrids and EVs, with luxury arm Lexus revealing the LF-Ch hybrid concept and Toyota showing a plug-in Prius and the Auris (Corolla) hybrid concept.
The Prius PHEV plug-in - previously seen undergoing testing on the second-generation Prius platform - will be revealed at Frankfurt, and the Japanese manufacturer has today offered some technical insight on its newest eco-friendly car.
Armed with a lithium-ion battery pack, the Prius PHEV will utilise the regular model's hybrid synergy drive, in an upgraded form that allows the Prius to function in electric-only mode for speeds up to 100km/h over distances reaching 20km.
Toyota claims the car will reach 100km/h from a standing start in electric-only mode, but no numbers have been offered on how long that trip will take.
Carbon emissions are rated at just 60g/km, making it one of the cleanest petrol-electric hybrids yet developed.
Toyota has not revealed the charging capacity of the Prius PHEV's lithium-ion battery, but it promises a 1.5 hour charge via a 230V power outlet.
The world number one carmaker plans to build 500 Prius PHEV cars from later this year, which it will lease to corporate and government fleets in Japan, Europe and the United States.
The Japanese manufacturer has announced plans to manufacture a full hybrid version of its Auris small car - sold locally as the Corolla - in the United Kingdom, for sale across Europe.
Production of the Toyota?s first European-built hybrid will commence in mid-2010, with technical details still unknown.
A variant of the new Prius?s 1.8 litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and Hybrid Synergy Drive system are tipped to be destined for the Auris Hybrid?s engine bay, however it would not be entirely surprising if the 1.5 litre petrol-electric powerplant of the second-gen Prius was taken out of retirement for the Auris.
Exports to Australia are unlikely, with Toyota Australia?s public relations manager Mike Breen telling TMR that ?there is no current plan to introduce the Auris (Corolla) hybrid to the Australian market?.
However there is a faint glimmer of hope, with Breen saying that, ?as with all new models, it is under study?.