Toyota Hybrid-X concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

When Toyota gets around to expanding its Prius line-up next year, the first model to benefit from the badge will be a compact MPV reportedly badged the Alpha. The small van will apparently be based on a stretched version of the current Prius platform, will add a third row of seats and should be the first production Toyota hybrid with a lithium ion battery pack. Toyota is currently testing a fleet of plug-in Prius hybrids with lithium batteries, but those aren't slated for production until 2012.

The seven-seat Alpha is expected to be about one foot longer than the current Prius hatchback, while a shorter, five-seat version of the Alpha that may look similar to the Hybrid-X concept from 2007 and could retain the nickel-metal hydride batteries of the current Prius to keep costs down. If all goes according to plan, expect the Prius Alpha to launch around March of next year.

Related GalleryGeneva Motor Show: Toyota Hybrid-X concept

[Source: Motor Trend]