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Toyota to lease 500 plug-in Prius hybrids globally
June 3, 2009 / 7:45 AM / 8 years ago

Toyota to lease 500 plug-in Prius hybrids globally

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp said on Wednesday it would begin leasing 500 plug-in hybrids based on the Prius model globally by the end of this year, primarily for government and corporate use.

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, said in a statement it would lease 200 in Japan and 150 each in the United States and Europe, including 100 in France.

Plug-in hybrid cars can be cleaner than regular hybrids because they can be charged to run purely on electricity, but the need for more batteries makes them expensive.

Toyota’s plug-in cars would be the brand’s first to employ lithium-ion batteries, which are costly but can store more energy than nickel-metal hydride batteries used in most gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.

Among other carmakers, bankrupt General Motors Corp is planning to launch its much-hyped Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid next year.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim

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