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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota has detailed its advancements in environmental technologies for future “eco-cars”, with plans ranging from familiar hybrids to futuristic hydrogen production cars.

Toyota says it is on track to introduce 11 hybrid models around the world by the end of 2012, including both redesigned and all-new models.

The brand’s continued development of its fuel cell hybrid vehicle (FCHV) technology means it will also be ready to launch a hydrogen-powered saloon car by the middle of the decade.

Markets like Japan, Europe and North America – who are expected to have established hydrogen refueling infrastructure – will become the first to get the new vehicle.

Toyota also provided an update on its research into next-generation battery technology – looking beyond lithium-ion batteries, which are still rather futuristic in production car terms.

A team of around 100 researchers is currently investigating both solid-state and metal-air battery options, the latter of which has the potential to provide far superior energy density than lithium-ion batteries.

The next step in the process for Toyota starts next year with European road trials of an electric version of the iQ city car.

The iQ EV is scheduled to go on sale in the US in 2012, but Toyota is also using the trial to investigate the vehicle’s potential for launch in other markets, including Europe, Japan and China.

All of this news follows last week’s unveiling of the RAV4 EV at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show – a vehicle built in collaboration with EV experts Tesla and due for a US launch in 2012.




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