Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota brand, came to Detroit on Monday to have lunch with some local media. Among the topics of discussion at the gathering were Toyota's plans for zero emissions vehicles.
Since last January, Toyota has shown two different plug-in battery powered concepts, the FT-EV and the FT-EV II, both of which were small city cars. Carter confirmed that Toyota would introduce a battery electric car in 2012. What he declined to elaborate on was what type of car it would be, although he did say the EV would not look like either of the concepts. Odds are the BEV will be a city car of some kind though. When asked if he thought EVs could hit 10 percent of the market by 2020, Carter replied, "the technology has to advance much further than it is today to hit 10 percent of the market."

Carter reiterated that internal combustion and hybrids would remain the primary motivators for some time to come although the company was still committed to fuel cells as well. Toyota would like to have a fuel cell vehicle on the market by 2015 if there is a reasonable network of filling stations.

Toyota will start deploying its test fleet of 500 plug-in Priuses around the end of November to commercial and government fleets in Japan, North America and Europe. According the Carter, the lithium ion battery Prius can run electrically at speeds up to 62 mph for up to 5 miles. It's not clear if the car can actually accelerate from a standstill to the speed without running the engine, that will have to wait until we have a chance to try one out.

[Source: Green Fuels Forecast]

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