Toyota Motor Corp. has unveiled a more expensive and bigger hybrid-only model than its hit Prius, underlining the Japanese automaker's ambitions to make green technology more widespread.
The "Sai" sedan is Toyota's second hybrid-only model after the Prius. Toyota offers hybrid versions of other car models.
Sai, which means "talent" and "color," will be sold only in Japan, starting Dec.7, targeting monthly sales of 3,000 vehicles. No global sales plans have been decided, the world's biggest automaker said Tuesday.
Hybrids get better mileage than regular gasoline engine cars by switching between an electric motor and a gas engine. Other automakers are also beefing up their hybrid lineups, including hybrid-only models.
Government incentives, including cash-for-clunkers programs, and tax breaks are sending Prius orders soaring in Japan, with the waiting list for the car growing to several months.
Hybrid sales in Japan have been the one bright spot for Toyota, which has been losing money, battered by the global economic slump.
The Sai gets 23 kilometers per liter, or about 54 miles per gallon, double the mileage of a comparable regular gas-engine model, according to Toyota.
Text and images: AP