In as little as two years' time Toyota plans to start selling the plug-in hybrid electric cars that it started testing in public last year. If the plan works out, the Japanese car giant will begin marketing in its home territory and the US in 2010.
Aside from the environmental benefits of reducing the use of fossil fuels, the commercialisation of electric-powered cars will also have economic benefits. The lithium-ion batteries Toyota plans to use will be made in Japan in a joint venture with Panasonic.
The first plug-ins on the market will be aimed at corporate fleet buyers, while pickup trucks and SUVs are likely to follow before long for the domestic market.