Toyota is pushing their launch date for their plug-in Prius hybrid up by a year . Toyota will begin selling (retail) in late 2011 in the U.S.
The carmaker said it hoped to initially sell about 15,000 vehicles of the new model annually in the United States, and was considering releasing the model in Japan around the same time.That is and is not surprising. Toyota has been reluctant to move forward on plug-in hybrids, given their dominance in the hybrid field and their questions about the battery technology. Specifically, lithium-ion battery packs seem to make them nervous.
But with the Chevy Volt debuting in 2010, perhaps Toyota is feeling some pressure to compete, plug-wise. Also, new regulations in California are forcing car makers to begin selling plug-ins sooner rather than later (see the Volt's launching plan).
Of course, you can already get a plug-in Prius today. You just need to buy a hybrid Prius and then go to a conversion shop. It's expensive to do and it's a risk to make such modifications, but it's been going on for years now.
The retail plan for the official plug-in Prius is still lacking in some details (such as price???).