Although details remain virtually non-existent and the visual confirmation consists of the marginally illuminating image seen here, Toyota has stated that it will hold the world premiere of a new "dedicated hybrid concept" next month in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show.

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A closer examination of the teaser pic indicates that the car is likely based on Toyota's diminutive iQ platform, but barring any change of heart, all specific information on this new mileage-maxxer will remain under wraps until its official coming-out press conference on January 11. A slightly more forthcoming announcement out of Japan over the weekend updated the status of Toyota's Plug-in Prius program. In a formal release, TMC says it will increase the number of Prius PHEV's in its test fleet from 500 to 600 worldwide during 2010. It also officially went on record for the first time as intending "to begin sales in the tens of thousands of units to the general public in two years." Is so, we could theoretically see the first Prius PHEVs arriving here sometime in late 2011 -- and carrying an equivalent EPA fuel economy rating of 134 mpg.

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