Stylish: if Toyota produces a sporty coupe version of the Prius, it's set to look something like this

Hot on the heels of the news, aired in the column last week, that Toyota is planning a baby Prius, come reports that there is also a sporty coupe version of the current Prius on the way.

Hybrids are very much in the news and the demand for battery/combustion engine technology is growing fast so it is no surprise that Japan's "Best Car" magazine is adding additional fuel to the ongoing speculation that Toyota will produce a sporty coupe version of its world-beating Prius hybrid hatchback.

It suggests that the new model could be topped with a tailored sheet metal suit courtesy of famed Italian design studios such as Pininfarina or Italdesign Giugiaro.

The picture below backs the rumours and is what a two-door Prius may look like. If Toyota does indeed offer up a hybrid Prius Coupe, it would do battle with the upcoming Honda CR-Z, which is expected to debut in production this autumn at the Tokyo Motor Show. Previous reports had suggested that Toyota could bump up the power of the 1.8-litre four cylinder power plant, but that may be for the American market only.

The baby Prius concept gets stop-start technology and the full eco-friendly treatment right down to mesh seats for lightness and fuel economy. And Toyota's plans for the Prius range are ongoing, with eight new hybrids in the pipeline which does not include upgrades on current models.

During the next few years expect to see executive saloons and big family-sized hybrid cars with greater battery power. The plan is to bring hybrid sales over the one million mark. Also on the drawing boards are a fully electric car within two years and a fuel cell car in five years time.