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Plug-in Toyota Prius prototype - Click above for a high-res gallery

Speaking at this week's Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, MI, Toyota advanced powertrain program manager Justin Ward reiterated the company's plans to offer hybrid drive systems in every one of its model lines by the end of the next decade. Toyota already has more vehicles with hybrid systems than anyone else, but will need next-generation systems to support larger vehicles like the Tundra pickup, assuming it is still building full-size trucks in 2020. On the subject of fuel cell sy

"Plug-In 2008: A Short Drive to Tomorrow" is the world's first convention dedicated exclusively to plug-in hybrid technology. The event tales place next week, July 21-24, in San Jose, CA.

The first known instance of a plug-in hybrid car going up in flames occurred on June 7 in Columbia, South Carolina to a 2008 Prius that had been converted to plug-in capability for the Central Electric Power Cooperative. The conversion was performed with a Hybrids-Plus PHEV15 conversion kit that uses an A123 Systems lithium ion battery pack. The incident is still under investigation by Phoenix, Arizona-based Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation. Initial information indicates the fire

Last year, Google made some waves when they announced the RechargeIT project to convert a fleet of Toyota Priuses and Ford Escape hybrids to plug-in capability. The company has just issued their first progress report on the program, and the results may be disappointing for those promoting plug-in conversions. Right now the only way to get a plug-in hybrid is to buy an off-the shelf model like the Prius or Escape and than install a $10-15,000 conversion kit. Unfortunately, as we learned from a re

Earlier this summer Toyota announced plans to start testing some plug-in versions of the Prius in Japan. That announcement was quickly followed by two of the PHEV Priuses coming to California and now the program is hopping another ocean. Following up on the rumors circulating over the weekend, European energy company EDF has struck a deal with Toyota to test some of the plug-in hybrids in France.

I'm just going to assume you've heard that Toyota is testing a plug-in Prius on public roads in Japan. If this has slipped by you, check out the links below. Otherwise, you know that the PHEV uses the standard nickel metal hydride batteries, not new and fancy lithium ion batteries. So, what does the plug-in NiMH give you? BusinessWeek fills us in.

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