OK. This is pure speculation. Nonetheless, there was a time when Toyota had verbally committed to putting lithium-ion batteries into the third generation Prius.
Then a few cell phones and laptops blew up. But, that wasn’t all that happened to stymie lithium Prii.
Gas prices began to spike and Toyota Prius demand went through the ceiling. Imagine making your first lithium hybrid roll out in a car with such huge production numbers, demand, and expectations. One bad thermodynamic event and the king of hybrid cars drops from first to last. Hence, Toyota indicated that the first Toyota lithium hybrid might be a Lexus.
Screw Lexus. Now that Ford has rolled out the Ford Fusion hybrid, Toyota needs to send a strong response.
Thus, if Toyota is to keep its hybrid edge, I can think of no better entry point today for lithium than the Camry hybrid. Ford has put a shot off Toyota’s hybrid bow. Now it’s time for Toyota to fire back, if they can.