Along with the launch of the FT-CH Concept here at the Detroit Auto Show, Toyota also let out a juicy little tidbit that's been rumored for quite some time: a so-called Prius Family of vehicles. Says Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales president, "The strategy is still taking shape and obviously it will require additional models to qualify as a family. Among others, the FT-CH is a concept that we are considering."
According to the automaker, Toyota plans to launch eight all-new hybrids over the next few years. We're not sure that all of those vehicles will carry the Prius moniker, but it's clear that at least some of them will. Previous rumors had gone so far as to indicate that an entirely separate section of the showroom floor may be dedicated to the Prius brand.
We also can't say what kind of batteries Toyota will use in its future hybrid models, but the company says it's working on advanced nickel-metal and lithium-ion units, plus what it refers to as "beyond lithium." What we know for sure, though, is that Toyota will bring a small, urban commuter lithium-ion BEV to market in model year 2012. Stay tuned.