2012 Toyota Prius Alpha Hybrid Minivan Scooped!

Carscoop reader Nick K. had an opportunity to snag what may very well be the first spy photos of the long-anticipated minivan version of the Prius, rumored to be called the Prius Alpha.

Spotted out in California following a new Lexus CT200h with its logos covered, the camouflaged minivan seen here - said by Nick to be "about the size of a Mazda 5" - appears to be wearing a Prius-esque front fascia and doesn't look to fit anywhere else in the lineup.

As you can see in our photo gallery after the jump, the minivan and the Prius also seem to share a similar design for the windshield, front window line and tail lamps.

If earlier reports from Reuters and Japan's Nikkei daily are correct, the Prius MPV will end up housing three rows of seats with space for up to seven passengers and be powered by in-house developed lithium-ion batteries (which may later be manufactured with help from Panasonic).

As we recently told you, Toyota Executive VP Takeshi Uchiyamada hopes to launch six new hybrids worldwide by 2012 (two Lexi and four Toyotas) on top of its current hybrid offerings. That means the Lexus hybrid family - LS, GS, HS, and RX - will likely gain another crossover of some sort and probably an IS hybrid.

Toyota - currently at three hybrids in the U.S. with the Prius, Camry, and Highlander - will likely get at least one more variant of the Prius, as well as three other models. Speculation on those is up to you all.

By Phil Alex

Many thanks to Nick K. for the spy pictures!