There might soon be a Toyota Prius sport wagon or sport utility vehicle at the end of 2010 if the carmaker pursues its plan to make an entire lineup for the Prius brand. It's no secret that Toyota has been eyeing the possibility of a Prius wagon for some time now. Do you remember the Hybrid X Concept that debuted at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show?
That was Toyota's way of showing us what a Prius wagon would look like. Japanese newspaper Yomiuri reports that Toyota is preparing to launch these vehicles soon.
Automotive News, which reported this possibility in October 2007, also said that the 2010 Prius sedan would be followed in a year or so by a wagon version. Toyota may not sell any wagons in the US but it builds several models for its home market. This could be where it will get underpinnings for a Prius hybrid version.
This makes it likely that the US-market Venza will be launched this year as a sporty wagon. With regards to the Prius SUV, it can be argued that the Lexus RX 400h is simply a Prius SUV wrapped in a luxury body.
There are also speculations that lithium-ion batteries will be used. This is interesting to note since Toyota officials have been saying that lithium-ion batteries have not yet been determined to be reliable for retail use and there's also the matter with their high cost. But then again, anything's possible. It could be that Toyota has got something up its sleeve that it has chosen to withhold for now.
Prius has a lithium-ion battery program with Panasonic and many believe that there is a breakthrough in this field that they've been keeping under wraps. Yomiuri reports that the Prius wagon-SUV would have a larger power system and be bigger and heavier than the sedan.
These factors mean that extra power and a lighter battery are required, things that a lithium battery can offer. It has yet to be revealed whether a Prius wagon/SUV would use a rechargeable, or plug-in, battery system or a conventional hybrid system recharged by the regenerative braking system.