Toyota’s New Hybrids Will Have Lithium-ion Batteries

Toyota said today that its next line of hybrid vehicles will run on lithium-ion batteries, which the company will also produce.

The production of the new batteries and vehicles will start next year and will feature a plug-in hybrid that will be sold in 2010.

Toyota also said that later this month it will look into creating a new battery that will outperform a lithium-ion battery, currently considered the best technology available to power electric vehicles.

With Toyota’s Prius currently flying off dealers’ lots, it’s no surprise that the company is vying to remain the leading manufacturer and producer of hybrid vehicles in the world.

An announcement today by the U.S. Energy Department said that gas prices will probably remain around $4 a gallon through 2009. If gas prices don’t relent any time soon, car buyers will undoubtedly be driven to more fuel-efficient cars.

Toyota also announced this week that it would start producing the Camry hybrid in Thailand and Australia, part of its global effort to increase hybrid production, reports the Wall Street Journal.