Toyota and EDF Energy today kicked off a series of road trials of the much-hypded plug-in Prius. EDF and Toyota will be testing the PHEV Prius for the next year or so and expect the data collected during the trial to "play a pivotal role in the development of Toyota's PHV technology."
For these tests, Toyota built a smart meter into the Prius that can regulate charging and invoicing, something that - if standardized - will make plug-in vehicles a much easier sell to utilities. Toyota says that if you're driving no more than 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), then your gasoline use is cut by 60 percent. Not quite as sexy as the Chevy Volt's promises, but still worth it.
The UK partnership is designed to evaluate vehicle performance within an urban environment, vehicle infrastructure requirements, and driver behaviours and expectations.
Toyota and EDF Energy are using an innovative charging and invoicing
system which is incorporated into the PHV. This system is compatible
with a new generation of public charging stations, which aim to make
electric power more accessible on public roads and car parks, and will
reduce the cost to the customer. EDF Energy has helped to install the
first of 40 charging posts in the UK, with plans to help install more
in the coming months.
A PHV uses Toyota's hybrid technology with the added benefit that the vehicle's batteries can be fully recharged using a standard electrical plug or an electrical charging post to extend its driving range in electric mode. For short distances, PHV can be driven as an electric vehicle, resulting in a silent, zero emissions drive. For longer distances, PHV works as a conventional hybrid vehicle.
Early test results indicate that fuel efficiency is significantly
higher than current Prius. For example, for trips up to 25km, PHV
consumes roughly 60% less fuel than Toyota's hybrid Prius.
Toyota has confirmed that it will sell lithium-ion battery-equipped
PHVs to fleet customers in Europe and other regions by the end of 2009.
Posted by Casey Kazan.
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