Buyers of future Prius models can expect to get better mileage from the popular hybrid vehicles.
A chief engineer for Toyota (TM) told reporters that the company is developing a new generation of batteries that will store energy at a higher density, boosting power and extending the range the cars can travel on an electrical charge. He noted that the second and third-generation Prius saw their fuel economy increased about 10% over first-generation models, Bloomberg notes.
The company in investing in nickel-metal hydride, lithium-ion solid state and lithium-air battery technologies. Toyota is also redesigning the powertrains for hybrid vehicles to reduce weight and fuel consumption.
Toyota launched the Prius in the U.S. on 2000, three years after it debuted in Japan. The company quickly became the market leader in hybrid vehicles, which account for 16% of its overall sales. Last year the company announced plans to launch 21 hybrid vehicles.
However, rising fuel prices have sparked competition in the hybrid vehicle market, with Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) introducing their own hybrid models.
Shares of Toyota rose modestly in Thursday morning trading.