2011 Toyota Prius Station Wagon To Feature Lithium-Ion Battery

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Toyota Prius Plug-In Wagon, from BestCar via Woody's Car Site

Toyota Prius Plug-In Wagon, from BestCar via Woody's Car Site

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We've known for a while that Toyota plans to introduce more Prius body styles to expand the reach of its most recognized and iconic hybrid car. Now, images of a possible 2011 Toyota Prius station wagon have hit the media. At least in Japan.

Woody Thompson, proprietor of Woody's Car Site, points us to an image he reproduced from BestCar, a Kanji-language magazine from Japan. Last August, that same magazine had also featured an artist's rendering of a Prius Coupe.

New body style and plug-in ?!?!?

The most interesting thing about the latest Prius station-wagon image is that it has the same graphics as the Toyota Prius Plug-In that Toyota showed at this year's Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

Toyota Prius station wagon, from BurlappCars.com

Toyota Prius station wagon, from BurlappCars.com

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Toyota Prius station wagon, from BurlappCars.com

Toyota Prius station wagon, from BurlappCars.com

Enlarge Photo

Prius Coupe Rendering

Prius Coupe Rendering

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toyota hybrid x concept 001

toyota hybrid x concept 001

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Toyota will provide 150 test versions of the plug-in Prius to European fleets, and the same number in the States. The first Prius Plug-Ins will be delivered by the end of the year, but Toyota hasn't said when retail customers will be able to get their hands on a factory-built plug-in Prius.

Real, or rendering?

Frankly, we can't tell if the station-wagon photo shows a real car or is only an artist's rendering. But a recent article in the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri says Toyota plans to sell a larger Prius, either a station wagon or sport utility vehicle, by the end of next year.

More interesting yet, Yomiuri says the new Prius variant will use a lithium-ion battery pack, rather than the nickel-metal-hydride cells used in every Prius to date.

So this looks it could be that car, doesn't it? Perhaps a wagon body style could compensate for any load space lost to the larger battery pack needed for a plug-in.

More Prius pics

This got us thinking, and we checked another site with images of cars that often don't hit U.S. media, BurlappCars.com. Indeed, it had not one but two images of the Prius wagon, one last April and a newer one from September. But, neither had the plug-in graphics.

Here again, it's unclear whether these are photos of actual cars or just artists' renderings of what a Prius wagon might look like. Neither story has any details on the cars.

Toyota testing: claim

But one Burlapp commenter said, "That is the car that I saw a couple of times already. Once in Sherman Oaks and once in Glendale." Both are Los Angeles suburbs where Toyota--based in Torrance, California--might test a prototype of the 2011 Toyota Prius wagon.

It's no secret that Toyota has been considering a wagon concept for awhile. Its Hybrid X concept, first shown at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, took the high-tail look to new heights in a low, sleek form that could be interpreted as either a hatchback or a wagon.

Would a wagon sell in the U.S.?

Meanwhile, while station wagons remain popular in Europe, the very term "station wagon" seems to be marketing poison in the U.S.

So we leave you with a question: Would you prefer a 2011 Toyota Prius station wagon over the hatchback version? Would you buy either one? Leave us a comment, below.

32 10 prius

32 10 prius

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[Woody's Car Site, BurlappCars.com, BurlappCars.com, Yahoo News]

 
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