EDF and Toyota have announced a major step forward in their joint road-trials of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHVs) and an innovative charging infrastructure in France.
About one hundred units of a next generation PHV equipped with lithium-ion batteries will be leased to selected companies and partners in the Strasbourg area starting from the end of 2009, for a duration of three years. This project has received financial support via the Research Fund managed by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency ADEME, following a call for projects on low-emitting vehicles.
This programme is part of a global Toyota project that will also be deployed in Japan and the US from the end of 2009. Toyota’s main objective is to investigate further the technology and performance of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles. EDF’s objective is to evaluate different operational options for the charging infrastructure. The joint goal is to broaden consumers’ understanding and acceptance, in preparation for broad commercialisation in the future.
In the context of the EDF-Toyota partnership, European road trials of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles started in France in the autumn of 2007 and were expanded to the UK last year.
The vehicles will use an innovative charging system which is able to ensure safe charging, communication between the plug and the vehicle, identification of the vehicle and invoicing of energy. For this demonstration, EDF and its subsidiary Electricité de Strasbourg (ES) will participate in a technical and financial partnership with all stakeholders, which will set up several hundred charging points at users’ homes, at the facilities of partners, in public parking lots and on public roads.
A Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle uses Toyota’s hybrid technology but with the added benefit that its battery can be recharged using a standard electrical plug. Toyota’s PHV is “the best of both worlds”: for short distances, it can be driven as an electric vehicle, resulting in a silent, zero CO2 emissions drive. For longer distances, the PHV works as a conventional hybrid vehicle, providing all the benefits of hybrid technology, including low emissions and fuel consumption, and excellent driving performance. Toyota expects the PHV to bring unsurpassed fuel efficiency and therefore record low emissions – as compared to any other mass-market vehicle on roads today.