President, Katsuaki Watanabe this week announced that the start of fleet testing for plug-in capable Priuses
had been moved up by a year. At this year's Detroit Auto Show
, Watanabe announced that several hundred Priuses with the ability to be plugged in would be delivered to government and commercial fleets in 2010 for field testing. That schedule has been adjusted so that the PHEVs would now be introduced in early 2009 with several hundred on the road by the end of the year. Over on the Toyota Open Road Blog, communications VP Irv Miller makes it clear though that no timetable has been set for retail sales of these cars and that it won't happen until Toyota is well and truly confident that the lithium ion batteries are safe, reliable and affordable. He also calls out a Palo Alto, CA Toyota dealer
for beginning to take deposits on the cars. While applauding the dealership's
initiative he stresses that no one knows when a PHEV Prius will actually be available to the public, including Toyota's dealer network.