U.S. 2011 Toyota Prius V comes only with nickel-metal-hydride battery

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Toyota is introducing the 2011 Prius V to the U.S. this year, but it will have a different variation to the European and Japanese versions. Unlike the overseas version with three rows of seating, the U.S. 2011 Prius V hybrid wagon will only get two rows of seating.

The reason for the two rows of seating in the 2011 Toyota Prius V for the U.S. is that it will come only with a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack, which is a much bigger battery pack than the lithium-ion battery pack being offered in Europe and Japan. And this takes the space of the third row seating in the hybrid’s hind-quarters.

Toyota plans to have the 2011 Prius V be affordable for everyone. Hence, it chose to have the nickel-metal hydride battery pack to keep the cost down for the 2011 Prius V, which could save customers about $8,000.

The nickel-metal-hydride Toyota Prius V will sell in Japan for 2.35 million yen ( $28,400) and the lithium-ion version for three million yen ($36,300), according to the Nikkei business daily.

If U.S. customers could save $8,000 from the new 2011 Prius V, the lack of the third row seating won’t be much of a sticking point. And if the 2011 Prius V sells well in the U.S., Toyota may decide provide the third row seating with the lithium-ion battery pack as an option.

“We don’t see a large market demand in the United States for the three-row version,” said John Hanson, a Toyota spokesman, in a phone interview. “It’s not a roomy third row, although that layout in a compact package is very popular in Europe and Japan. The two-row version combines very roomy accommodations with a large cargo area,” he added.

The 2011 Prius V is schedule to go on sale in the third quarter of this year, and pricing for the United States is not yet available.

Source: The New York Times