Toyota Plans Two New Hybrids

Toyota announced today that it will show two new hybrids at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. One of the hybrids will be sold as a Toyota and the other as a Lexus. Masatami Takimoto, executive vice president of research and development, said the Toyota hybrid will be “a totally new car.” He added that it would be larger than the Prius.

In addition, the company will show the third-generation Prius. The company did not provide further details, such as timing or cost, related to the new hybrids.

Toyota also announced new 1.3-liter and 2.5-liter gasoline engines using stop-start technology to debut later this year, according to company statement. This would mark Toyota’s first venture into a mild hybrid system. So far, all of Toyota’s hybrids are full hybrids, providing the capability to launch forward without using gasoline. Stop-start hybrids, which don’t burn gas when the vehicle comes to a stop, yield fuel efficiency gains of about 10 percent compared to conventional models.

All of the planned vehicles are expected to use nickel-metal hydride batteries. Panasonic EV Energy Co., which makes Toyota’s hybrid vehicle batteries, will begin making lithium ion batteries in 2009. Those batteries are expected to debut in Toyota’s first plug-in hybrid, which will have limited production for fleets in 2010.

Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said the company is also setting up a battery research department to look for battery technology with even greater capabilities than lithium ion.

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  • Bryce

    It is proabably good that Toyota is beginning to move into the mild hybrid field as well so that this can be introduced to a wide range of vehicles. Also, with all of the competition that they are beginning to get from Nissan, Honda, Ford, and GM, they really have to come up with something new other than the prius. (If you look at the May sales numbers, toyota and others are down while GM’s vehicles are all in the triple digit percentage gains. They are finally beginning the ramp up.) Honestly though, all the automakers are coming out with beautiful cars lately and the hybrid badge seems to be extending to every car in every segment….slowly but surely. : )

  • domboy

    The article I read yesterday on this:

    said that along with the new small engines Toyota has a new very efficient six-speed manual transmission in the works.
    It also said the new hybrids would use lithium ion batteries.

  • Paul Rivers

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen pictures and the like of a ghetto looking Toyota hybrid pickup. There were pics and stuff here on a while back, but I don’t have them available. I sure hope I’m wrong, but it looks to me like Toyota’s 2 new hybrids are a useless to me – a Lexus, and an ugly pickup truck. 🙁

  • Jeff

    No need to get bigger. I have seen an large number of GEO Metro’s on the road lately. They all look like they were pulled out of the dump and worked over to get them back on the road. People want to save money on fuel not keep the current 50 mpg and get a bigger car. I will take a 4 passanger car with 70 mpg as soon as it hits the streets. Toyota deserves a lot of credit but this is not looking like a good direction.

  • Batavier

    Smaller cars normally do not need hybrid technology to get good mileage. 🙂

  • Paul Rivers

    “People want to save money on fuel not keep the current 50 mpg and get a bigger car.”

    I disagree – most people I know would never consider anything smaller than the Prius for safety reasons. And those are the reasonable people – you can imagine that the kind of people who drive a midsize SUV for “safety” reasons are even more unlikely to.

  • Jeff

    Batavier and Paul Rivers,

    Those same comments were thrown around before the Prius came on the market. I never said they needed to keep making hybrids only. I am surprised that so many people on this site get hung up on hybrid technology. Any car that uses energy more efficiently and pollutes less is up for consideration. Clean Diesel or all Electric for example.

    I never specifically mentioned going with a car smaller than the Prius just not making bigger cars simply because we can. I own a Prius and while it has seating for 5 it only fits 4 adults comfortably.

  • Tom Schaffter

    Why hasn’t Toyota’s Prius production caught up with demand??

    There have been waiting lists at most dealers, most months, for almost FIVE YEARS — since the introduction of the 2004 model.

    Has anything similar ever happened in the auto industry? I doubt it.

    Clearly Toyota could have increased production more in these five years. Why haven’t they?

    I don’t believe it’s because they are losing money on each sale, as some have speculated. If R and D are included in the cost, it may be Toyota hasn’t broken even yet, but that will only happen by selling more.

  • altoids


    >>Clearly Toyota could have increased production more in these five years. Why haven’t they?

    They are limited by battery production.

  • Shines

    Hey Paul Rivers,
    You say: most people I know would never consider anything smaller than the Prius for safety reasons.

    The Civic is smaller than the Prius and it is now outselling the F150 which was the best selling vehicle in America.
    So I don’t know who the people you know are, but it’s not most people…
    Clearly more people are realizing they don’t need trucks (SUVs and Pickups) to get themselves around.

  • nycsolar

    Actually, I believe there was an article some time ago, that said the amazing thing was that with the new Prius (2004 on) Toyota was making money on each car, as well as introducing all this new fancy technology. So, I am assuming that with Priuses and Wiis, the manufacturers are actually limited by availability of materials.

  • Bubba

    That depends on what “good mileage” is.

  • Janice

    nice! something to look forward too, been looking for a SUV type of van hybrid that ca be use for a family outing. Doesn’t have anything yet on autopartswarehouse.