Leasing of 20 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrids, capable of 108.6 mpg and 59 g/km CO2, will start in London in July 2010.
The three-year lease demonstration programme will provide plug-in hybrid vehicles to public organisations and business fleet users, and data about their use will be provided in return.
The first Toyota Prius Plug-ins to reach the UK are joining the vehicle fleets of five businesses and public organisations, where they will demonstrate the fuel efficiency, low emissions, cost savings and everyday practicality that their rechargeable hybrid power system can deliver.
The real-world experiences of the drivers and fleet operators will provide both companies and UK Government with valuable insights into driver attitudes and usage patterns to help them design their strategies for introducing plug-in hybrids and recharging technologies. It will also help inform and shape public policy in this field.
Thanks to information recorded through EDF Energy’s charging infrastructure, the programme will deliver valuable intelligence about the benefits gained in energy savings and reduced emissions, recharging patterns and preferences.
The leasing programme is part of the Technology Strategy Board’s Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme, and benefits from funding support from the UK Government, through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
The organisations and businesses taking part in the programme are Transport for London, the Government Car and Despatch Agency, the Metropolitan Police Service, News International and Sky.
The cars involved in the lease programme are essentially the same as the current third-generation full hybrid Prius, but they are equipped with a powerful lithium-ion battery that can be recharged simply by being connected to a standard 240V electricity supply. EDF Energy has identified appropriate plug, socket, wiring and cabling specifications to comply with BS7671 safety standards, while maintaining fundamental ease of use. The charging points incorporate a keypad that enables each user and vehicle to be identified when recharging takes place.
The rechargeable battery technology gives the 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 62 mph, 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 108.6 mpg and 59 g/km respectively.
Should the battery charge be used up in the course of a journey, the Prius Plug-in will seamlessly switch to power from its 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine, meaning the driver need suffer no “range anxiety” about the distance his or her car might manage.
As part of a worldwide initiative involving 600 Prius Plug-ins, 200 of which are in Europe, the London programme will support Toyota’s plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid vehicle to the market within the next few years.
EDF Energy is working with the Greater London Authority with the aim of installing up to 550 public access charging points across the capital, as part of the Plugged in Places programme.
Note that the CO2 emissions of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid are measured according to the new official international regulations for plug-in hybrid electric powertrains, as adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
Keywords: Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, 108 mpg, 59 g/km CO2