Toyota races GM to deliver plug-in hybrid by 2010

News comes from Geneva of Toyot's plans to deliver plug-in electric-hybrids to European fleets by 2010. The statement came from Katsuaki Watanabe, Toyot's President, in a speech to gathered press at the international show yesterday.

This comes after the company's promise of building a plug-in hybrid by 2010 back in January at the Detroit auto show. Toyota began testing its plug-in vehicle on European roads last September.

GM also announced its plug-in hybrid, the Chevrolet Volt, will hit roads in 2010, putting the companies in a sort of modern-day space race. If nothing else, both giants have lots of pride on the line, as Toyota is the world's largest hybrid maker.

Unlike Toyot's current hybrids, which use nickel-metal hydride batteries, the new models will run on more suitable lithium ion batteries, produced in conjunction with Panasonic.

It's not known when Toyota plans to offer its plug-in hybrid in the United States, or whether it will arrive in time to do battle with the Chevy Volt.