Toyota Attempts To Best GM In The Plug-In Hybrid GameS

Vying for the "psychological advantage," Toyota plans to bring out a plug-in hybrid before GM can release the Chevy Volt.

Looking to catch an advantage over the Chevy Volt, which is due to arrive in late 2010, Toyota plans to release a plug-in hybrid sometime earlier in the same year. Toyota's plug-in is likely to be a true hybrid, unlike the Volt which is technically a "range-extended electric vehicle."

Initially, ToMoCo intends to sell 500 plug-in hybrids with 150 coming to the US. Built in Japan, the plug-ins will be storing their energy via lithium-ion batteries, whereas the Prius will keep its nickel-metal hydride. The Volt will be built in good 'ole Detroit.

Andrew Shapiro, an industry smartguy with the Casesa Shapiro group believes Toyota is rushing their plug-in hybrid to get the so-called "psychological advantage" over GM. GM is banking heavily on the success of the Volt to save the company in these trying years.

James Lentz, the president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, states Toyota is not intending to obtain any kind of psychological advantage based on the fact that the initial plug-in hybrids will not be offered to the public, but rather commercial purposes such as utility companies and corporations. Lentz continued by saying that he didn't like Shapiro's face and that they would decide this matter via Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots. One of these statements is untrue, but we're not sure which one.

[NYT]