Automotive News is reporting that a year or two after the next generation Toyota Prius hybrid
debuts in 2009, a wagon variant will be introduced. Parly due to its success as a taxi vehicle, the next Prius
is expected to grow in size to comfortably accommodate three adults in the back seat, while a wagon model is hoped to attract more commercial customers looking for a green delivery vehicle that may save on fuel costs. Both the first- and second-gen Priuses have been doing taxi duty for years now and their battery packs have been proven to take the punishment of near constant use. The third gen car will use a new nickel metal hydride battery pack, which is the same type used in the current car. Toyota
has laid to rest rumors
that it may debut a new lithium-ion battery pack in the third gen Prius, and instead appears to be saving that for a low-volume Lexus hybrid
due to its cost. Either way, the third gen Prius is sure to be a hit everywhere its sold, with more room, more power and better fuel economy
. Adding a wagon to the lineup will only improve its appeal.
[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]