In the picture is the Toyota Estima hybrid minivan that has been available only in Japan
Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) will launch competitively priced Prius hybrid minivans using lithium ion batteries early next year, the Nikkei business daily reported.
The new Prius minivan will offer a spacious interior and improved fuel economy, and will likely feature three rows of seats for carrying five to seven people, the paper said.
The company will initially manufacture lithium ion batteries at its Teiho factory in Aichi Prefecture, and later plans to produce them at Panasonic EV Energy Co, a battery joint venture with Panasonic Corp (6752.T), the Nikkei said.
A lithium-ion battery can pack more electricity than a nickel-metal hydride counterpart, enabling a hybrid car to run longer on a single charge