A report published today in Japan's Nikkei business daily, says Toyota Motor Corporation will launch a competitively priced, family-friendly Prius hybrid minivan using lithium-ion batteries, possibly by as early as next year.
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The report says Toyota will keep the price of the Prius MPV at a similar level to current hatch variants, and hopes the new, larger hybrid vehicle will help strengthen its lead in the hybrid vehicle market.

Offering a more spacious, taller and longer interior, the Prius hybrid MPV will likely feature three rows of seats for carrying five to seven passengers. It is also reported to feature sliding doors. Most other technical and drivetrain specifications are believed to remain unchanged.

The vehicle's battery packs will initially be produced in-house at Toyota's Teiho plant in Aichi Prefecture, with subsequent units to be made in conjunction with Panasonic EV Energy Company, as demand increases.

Lithium-ion batteries have the advantage of being able to store more electricity than their nickel-metal hydride counterparts, enabling them more endurance from a single charge.

CarAdvice will keep you posted on any developments on the Prius hybrid MPV as they come to hand.