Toyota is introducing a plug-in hybrid with next-generation lithium-ion batteries in Japan, the US and Europe by 2010, under a widespread strategy to be green outlined Wednesday. The ecological gas-electric vehicles, which can be recharged from a home electrical outlet, will target leasing customers, Toyota Motor Corp. said. Such plug-in hybrids can run longer as an electric vehicle than regular hybrids, and are cleaner. Lithium-ion batteries, now common in laptops, produce more power and are smaller than nickel-metal hydride batteries used in hybrids now. The joint venture that Toyota set up with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic products, will begin producing lithium-ion batteries in 2009 and move into full-scale production in 2010, Toyota said. Toyota also said it's setting up a battery research department later this month to develop an innovative battery that can outperform even that lithium-ion battery.