DETROIT – Toyota Motor Co. is delaying the start of production for its new plug-in model, the Prius Prime. The move is expected to push back the availability of the new model in the Japanese market. The U.S. launch, has been advised, will begin in November, but will be slower than originally planned.

The exact reason for the delay hasn’t been stated, though spokesperson Kayo Doi was quoted telling reporters in Japan that, “We decided we want to take our time and more care before starting mass manufacturing.” The launch of production will be slower than original planned, a U.S. official added.

The Prius Prime is a plug-based version of the Toyota Prius hatchback which went through a complete redesign of its own for the 2016 model-year. While the conventional model can run on battery power for only short distances, and at low speeds, the Prius Prime gets a larger, 8.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that increases electric-only range to 22 miles. And it can be operated at normal driving speeds.

That’s about double what the first-generation Toyota Prius Plug-in could manage – but still less than half of the 53-mile range offered by the second-generation Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle also launched for 2016.

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