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Plug-in Prius trial gets under way

Plug-in Prius trial gets under way

Toyota and EDF Energy are about to launch a three-year leasing programme that will bring 20 ultra-low emissions plug-in hybrid vehicles to the streets of London.

In July 2010, Toyota's first plug-in vehicles to reach the UK will join 5 vehicle fleets of public organisations and businesses, including Transport for London, the Government Car and Despatch Agency, the Metropolitan Police Service, News International and Sky.

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 on a larger scale. It will also help inform and shape public policy in this field, as well as demonstrating the improved fuel efficiency, lower emissions, cost savings and everyday practicality that their rechargeable hybrid power system can deliver.

EDF Energy will record user information through its charging infrastructure, providing Toyota, EDF Energy and the UK Government with valuable intelligence on user behaviour and attitudes, vehicle performance and recharging patterns and preferences.

Miguel Fonseca, Managing Director Toyota, said: "I am delighted to be joining with EDF Energy to launch the UK's largest plug-in hybrid programme, a project that will deliver valuable insights into the behaviour and preferences of UK drivers as they engage with the technology for the first time and experience it in their everyday driving routines. Toyota is committed to developing sustainable, low emissions mobility and Prius Plug-in marks another important element in our environmental leadership, and a further step towards its ambition of building the ultimate eco-car."

EDF Energy Managing Director of ESCS Martin Lawrence said: "I am delighted that EDF Energy, the UK's largest producer of low-carbon electricity, can play such an important role in the research and demonstration of these new vehicles. The new Government has committed to a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The demonstration that we launch today plays a key part in that development. Transport currently accounts for around a fifth of the country's carbon footprint and the take up of clean, electric transport can help the UK meet its climate change targets."

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 larger and more 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 electric vehicle mode: capable of running for up to 12.5 miles solely on its electric motor, 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 efficient 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine, meaning the driver need suffer no 'range anxiety' about the distance his or her car might manage.

EDF Energy's vision for powering a low carbon Britain not only requires the decarbonisation of electricity, but also low carbon transport. Supporting this goal, EDF Energy is marking a significant milestone in its on-going collaboration with Toyota by powering what is the UK's largest plug-in hybrid vehicle leasing programme.


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