Jul 19, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
More indications that we might expect an announcement from Toyota this fall. Green Car Congress has done us the favor of translating a story appearing in the Japanese press, and a reader of the posting (who posts under the name "Tokyo Joe" perhaps in homage to the Humphrey Bogart film) has added additional translation he says is from the story. The translation refers to a possible introduction at the "Tokyo Motor Show in November" -- the show's official dates are October 26th (Friday) through November 11th (Sunday)
Toyota to Obtain Permission for Public Road Test for Plug-in Prius in Japan http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/07/toyota-to-obtai.html 18 July 2007 Asahi.com http://www.asahi.com/business/update/0719/NGY200707180018.html (translation by Futoshi SATO)
Toyota Motor Co. will obtain permission from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport by the end of July for the testing of a prototype plug-in Prius on public roads.
Toyota will be the first car maker to obtain permission for a plug-in hybrid test in Japan. After completing the road tests, Toyota will start building a way to market the model by leasing them to public (government and municipal) offices.
According to the report, Toyota is testing a lithium-ion battery pack in the plug-in.
Earlier this year, Nikkei Business speculated that Toyota would introduce the plug-in at the Tokyo Motor Show in November.
And one of over 30 readers who wrote comments said: Posted by: TokyoJoe | Jul 18, 2007 11:51:09 PM
I read the Japanese article mentioned above and my interpretation is slightly different.
The Ministry of Land and Transport permission is a formality. It just means registration of a type of vehicle that is not currently registered for use. Toyota will have no problems there.
Leasing to government offices in Aichi Prefecture (where Toyota HQ is based) is to gather performance data and check safety of the vehicle as a first step towards becoming the first commercial PHEV producer in the world.
The article also quoted the President of Toyota (Mr Katsuaki Watanabe) saying that among the many low pollution engine developments, such as clean diesel etc, the Hybrid is Toyota's core technology. Their strategy is to maintain Toyota's leading position in Hybrid technology with the PHEV which has an even lower environmental impact than existing hybrids.
Sounds to me like they will be giving it a serious push.