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Toyota Prius will drive into US by 2012
Published on 4 Oct. 2009 11:47 PM IST
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“The target is to come to market with them by 2012,” Irv Miller, a group vice-president for Toyota’s US sales unit said at a conference in Los Angeles. Before that, “We’re going to study the challenges of consumer demand,” he said. Toyota already plans to begin US tests late this year on 150 Priuses with lithium-ion battery packs that can be recharged at electric outlets. Toyota joins Nissan Motor Co, General Motors Co, Daimler and startups such as Tesla Motors Co in readying vehicles that run entirely or in part on electricity. Governments are pushing for such models to reduce gasoline use and trim emissions of carbon dioxide. Unlike Nissan, which has said it expects to sell hundreds of thousands of Leaf battery cars within a few years, Toyota has said it’s less certain of consumer readiness to buy vehicles that cost more and offer less range. “Toyota’s wariness stems from sales in California of its battery-powered RAV4 sport-utility vehicles early in this decade,” Miller said.“We had a lot of people raising their hands for the RAV4 EV,” he said. “As soon as we made them ready for sale, that line evaporated very quickly,” he added.

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