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Toyota announces plug-in hybrid for 2010


According to reports, roost-ruling, green automaker Toyota has confirmed plans to launch a plug-in hybrid by 2010. Our man in Japan Katsuaki Watanabe (company president) dropped the bombshell at this year's Detroit Auto Show while detailing the automaker's plans for tackling environmental concerns. Apparently, the new lithium-ion-equipped vehicles will first be made available to Toyota's commercial customers -- such as government agencies. Watanabe gave no indication of when a general consumer rollout would occur. The vehicle, which is a modified version of the ultra-popular Prius, is capable of achieving fuel efficiency of 99.9 miles-per-gallon in EV mode, though it can only sustain pure battery power for about seven miles. The announcement will no doubt come as a total bummer to GM, which has plans to sell its own plug-in, the Volt, around the same time -- though the Chevy vehicle is said to be able to make trips of up to 40 miles on a six-hour charge. It's about time we saw some healthy competition in the green-auto-game -- let's just hope consumers reap the benefits.

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