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Published on March 8th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Toyoto Prius Minivan to use lithium ion battery

The Prius minivan hybrid due later this year will be the first standard hybrid from Toyota Motor Corp with a lithium ion battery. But the advanced lightweight power pack will appear only in the Japanese version of the car, a person familiar with the plan said last week. The U.S. version will stick with the heavier nickel-metal hydride batteries used in the current Prius hatchback and Toyota’s other gasoline-electric vehicles.

Toyota is using lithium batteries in the Japan-spec Prius minivan to open up more interior room and allow for three rows of seats, as preferred by Japanese customers, the source said. The Prius V minivan shown at this year’s Detroit auto show had only two rows of seats, while the Prius Plus variant shown last week in Geneva has three rows. Using a bulkier nickel-metal battery requires the battery to consume space in a console between the driver and passenger seats.

Toyota claims the minivan will have more cargo space than 50 percent more interior than the current Prius. Toyota Prius V has seating for five with increased space and visibility, and 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space. 60/40 split rear seat folds are for four different schemes, while the folding front passenger seat allows for long loads.

Toyota Prius V has the same powertrain hybrid Prius ordinary mat an Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor. Toyota said the Toyota Prius for V EPA fuel economy rating of 42 mpg city, 38 mpg highway 40 mpg combined and expected results.

Toyota has long said it will reserve lithium batteries for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles while it continues to use nickel-metal batteries in traditional hybrids.

In a first for Toyota, Toyota Prius V offers a lightweight resin month available roof with retractable umbrella and features 40 percent weight reduction compared to conventional skylights of similar size.

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