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Report: Toyota readying Prius-based minivan for 2011

by Mark Kleis

Toyota has only recently unveiled its all-new 2011 Sienna minivan, but now a report out of Japan is suggesting that the automaker may bring a minivan with a much more eco-friendly design in 2011 as well. The 2011 Sienna is the sportiest and fastest production minivan ever offered, and if the report is true, Toyota has plans to offset this sporty people hauler with a Prius-like version as well.

According to a report from Nikkei in Japan, Toyota is currently hard at work developing a Prius hybrid minivan that could debut in early 2011.

The report suggests that Toyota is looking to create a new model of the popular Prius gas-electric hybrid that is intended to not only be fuel-efficient, but price competitive as well. This model would offer a more spacious interior than the current compact Prius, featuring three rows of seating and seatbelts for 5-7 people.

If produced, the lithium-ion batteries would be sourced from the Teiho factory in Aichi Prefecture for launch, and eventually, would be sourced to Panasonic EV Energy Co. as part of their joint venture efforts.

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