With reported new Prius SUV, will Toyota still be the darling of green drivers?

Toyota will sell a new Prius station wagon or SUV in Japan by the end of 2010, according to the Japanese national newspaper Yomiuri on November 13.

The new Prius will retail for only around 2 million yen (€15,000), according to the newspaper.

The car will be propelled by a new kind of lithium ion battery, similar to the type commonly employed in the latest electric vehicles. Most hybrid batteries are currently made of nickel-metal hydride, which are less powerful.

At the 2007 Geneva Motor Show Toyota unveiled a Hybrid X concept, which shows the automaker has been tinkering with the idea of putting together large vehicles and hybrids for some time.

The combination of a hybrid engine, beloved by environmentalists, and the oft-demonized SUV, is likely to spark comment.

Regardless, with its Prius mid-size sedan the best-selling green car by leaps and bounds, the hybrid king is clearly not finished adding to its lineup.