A Toyota executive said that he is pushing his company’s engineers to develop a plug-in hybrid-vehicle that is powered by a lithium-ion battery before 2010. This statement from Katsuaki Watanabe is sure to push the race between Toyota and General Motors in a higher level. It can be remembered that GM also plans to introduce its own version of a lithium-ion hybrid, which is known as the Chevrolet Volt and is expected to be delivered anywhere around 2010. Mr. Watanabe of Toyota welcomed the competition with General Motors and believed that the competition between the two companies would help reduce the negative aspects of automobiles and in the long run will help the environment. In a statement, Mr Watanabe thru an interpreter said that;
To compete against each other in such a battle is something to be congratulated. We don’t want to be the loser in that competition of course.
The best-selling hybrid of Toyota runs on nickel-metal hydride batteries. It is believed that the lithium-ion batteries that are used on a number of consumer electronics can potentially hold a longer charge than the nickel-metal hydride versions, but the draw back is that these batteries are expensive. The Volt from GM that is set to be introduced in 2010 is expected to run on lithium-ion batteries. And last fall, the company announced that it plans to build the Volt in an assembly plant in Detroit in 2010, although executives believe that production will start after that time. Plug-in vehicles are different from the current hybrid vehicles right now since they can be recharged externally from an ordinary power outlet. For the conventional hybrid like the current Prius, battery is charged from power generated by the wheels.