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Toyota Rolls Out new Prius C Hybrid and Reveals NS4 Concept Plug-In

The next three years critical to win consumer support for battery power.

by on Jan.10, 2012

The next few years will be critical if the auto industry hopes to win popular support for new battery-based powertrain technology – rather than just having it mandated by government fiat, said Jim Lentz, Toyota’s top U.S. executive.

Lentz spoke during a well-attended news conference where the Japanese automaker outlined its electrification strategy while also rolling out a pair of new battery-based vehicles.

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The new Toyota Prius C is the latest member of a growing family of conventional gas-electric models sharing the nameplate of the world’s most popular hybrid.  But Lentz also revealed a more advanced plug-in hybrid, the Toyota NS4 Concept, that could reach market later in the decade.

The new subcompact Prius C will come to market about a year after Toyota launched a midsize spin-off dubbed the Prius V.  “If the larger Prius V stands for versatility, the Prius C stands for City,” the executive explained.

Toyota reveals the new NS4 Concept, a dedicated plug-in hybrid prototype.

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Toyota Introduces the New Prius Family

Maker unveils variety of new models that will share Prius name.

by on Jan.10, 2011

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda

If you ask where the Toyota Prius is at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show don’t be surprised if the response is, “Which one?”

Already the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle, Toyota plans to turn Prius into an even bigger presence, it confirmed Monday, by adding a variety of new models sharing the Toyota badge.  That will soon include a roomy wagon, an affordable compact and a plug-in Prius, with still more models under considerations, Toyota officials said.

“Consumers convinced us to expand Prius into an all-new family,” said Bob Carter, Toyota brand boss, during a Cobo Hall news conference.

For Toyota, at least, the Prius nameplate has become almost interchangeable with hybrid – though not entirely.  The maker plans to launch 11 new gas-electric models worldwide over the next 23 months, including seven entirely new offerings – only some of those destined to wear a Prius badge, stressed Carter, noting, “Each family member will be an all-new model.”

During the event Carter and Toyota Motor Co. CEO Akio Toyoda rolled out three models that fit the guidelines.  That includes a long-discussed plug-in version of the current Prius.  The lithium-ion-powered vehicle will be able to get 13 miles solely on battery power – compared to barely a mile for the current Prius.  And it will be able to do so at speeds up to 60 mph compared with 25 for the standard hybrid.

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