Toyota Motor plans to start mass-producing plug-in hybrid cars in 2012, according a report.
The Japanese business newspaper Nikkei said on Saturday that the first year's production is expected to be about 20,000 to 30,000 cars.
Current Priuses use nickel metal hydride batteries, but for its plug-in vehicles Toyota plans to use lithium ion batteries developed and made through a joint venture with Panasonic.
The plug-in hybrid cars from Toyota will be able to go between 12 and 18 miles on a battery charge alone, according to the paper, which Reuters cited.
There will be a wave of plug-in electric sedans coming to market over the next two years. In addition to a plug-in Prius, Toyota is making an all-electric city car called the FT-EV, which is expected in 2012.
The highly anticipated 2011 Chevy Volt is scheduled to go into production in late 2010. Unlike a traditional hybrid, the Volt will run entirely off its batteries and use the internal combustion engine to charge the battery for rides longer than 40 miles.