While it debuted at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota showed off its "1/X" plug-in hybrid concept vehicle at the Chicago Auto Show this week. (That's pronounced "one-Xth" in case you were wondering, although I think "one-stroke-ex" is better.)
Compared to the Prius, Toyota's gas-electric hybrid, the 1/X is smaller, lighter (by almost a factor of three), has a smaller engine (again by 2/3rd) and uses lithium-ion batteries instead of NiMH. Expect a future Prius to incorporate some of the technologies, but not all—the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic frame and bio-plastic roof aren't likely to make it into an affordable production car. The 125 miles-per-gallon performance will take a hit in a heavier car, too, but it's a step in the right direction.
Oh, the production models will probably have doors, too. That might make them heavier, but it should decrease wind resistance.
Toyota 1/X Plug-In Concept Makes North American Debut At 2008 Chicago Auto Show [GreenCarCongress.com]