According to Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun
, Toyota is going to postpone the launch of its next generation Prius
. Originally planned for fall 2008, the release has been pushed back to spring 2009. This will be the third generation of the popular hybrid-only model, and it was expected that we'd see the first use of lithium-ion batteries
in this new model. Toyota, however, has apparently decided to stick with the nickel-metal hydrides, and delayed the launch of the new car until further development could be done on that system. Toyota's battery partner, Matsushita, could be partly to blame here, but officially Toyota says there is no delay. They maintain that the launch date was never announced and that when they feel everything is in place, the new car will appear. With or without the li-ions. The Prius is by far the best selling and most widely known hybrid on the market. Toyota sold 186,000 of them last year, and 313,000 hybrids overall.
[Source: Automotive News, sub. req.]