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Toyota to start selling plug-in hybrids in 2011

TOKYO — Toyota showed its new plug-in hybrid Monday, available for leasing this month in Japan, the U.S. and Europe, and promised the green vehicle for sale to regular consumers by 2011 at an "affordable" price.


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What's affordable? $35,000?


Toyota's plug-in travels 23.4 kilometers as an electric vehicle on a single charge, and gets 57 kilometers a liter in mileage. When the charge runs out, a plug-in starts running like a regular hybrid, ensuring drivers won't run out of power on the road.

Big fat hairy deal. I want one round-trip's worth of electricity, in my case, about forty miles, or no deal. Since they're test-marketing these on a lease-only basis in Japan before foisting it upon us Americans, I hope they make a few tweaks between now and then.