Toyota launched its first trial of Prius plug-in hybrids in the UK today in collaboration with EDF Energy, as part of its plans to bring the car to market by the and of 2012.
A total of 20 Prius plug-in hybrids will begin operating in London in July 2010, leased to five businesses and public organizations.
This project is part of a global Toyota project involving 600 Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles that will also be deployed in Japan, the US, Canada and Australia.
The data from the project should shed light on driver attitudes and usage patterns to help design strategies for introducing plug-in hybrids and recharging technologies.
The Prius plug-in hybrids involved in the lease program are essentially the same as the current third-generation full hybrid Prius, but are equipped with a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged by plugging it into a standard 240-volt outlet. EDF Energy has identified appropriate plug, socket, wiring and cabling specifications to comply with BS7671 safety standards. The charging points incorporate a keypad that enables each user and vehicle to be identified when recharging takes place.
The rechargeable battery technology gives Prius Plug-in extended capabilities when it is driven in EV (electric vehicle) mode: capable of running for up to 12.5 miles solely on its electric motor – battery charge and road conditions permitting – at speeds up to 62mph, it can accomplish the great majority of typical urban journeys with zero fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions. Prius Plug-in’s combined cycle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are 108.6mpg and 59g/km respectively.
Should the battery charge be used up in the course of a journey, Prius plug-in will seamlessly switch to power from its efficient 1.8-liter VVT-i gasoline engine, meaning the driver need suffer no “range anxiety” about the distance his or her car might manage.[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]