Koei Saga, the managing officer of the Toyota Motor Corporation, might say that his company is "very excited" to expand plug-in hybrid (PHEV) testing when that's the announcement of the day, but he's also quite willing to give plug-in vehicles a verbal smackdown at other times.

For example, during the Detroit Auto Show, Saga told a gaggle of reporters that all-electric vehicles (EVs) are best as "very small commuter-type vehicles" and that long-range EVs are only possible "if we forget about battery life and if we forget about the cost incurred for replacement of those batteries." How far down the road do we have to look until we get rid of gasoline-powered vehicles? Saga said, "In my personal view, I think we will never abandon the internal-combustion engine."

These sentiments mesh with what Toyota's Bill Reinert told AutoblogGreen during the show and with Toyota's corporate focus on hybrids in the near term – a million a year by 2011 and the "Prius family" – as well as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The takeaway point? We hope no one is waiting for a Prius EV, even if the current generation models do have that tempting EV button.

[Source: New York Times]

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