In an international effort, Japanese automaker Toyota and Électricité de France (EDF) are expanding their European plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) testing program to the United Kingdom.
The trial builds on the first European PHEV testing program launched by Toyota and EDF on French roads in September 2007. The UK partnership is designed to evaluate vehicle performance within an urban environment, vehicle infrastructure requirements, and driver behaviors and expectations.
Trials started on September 10th and will continue for more than one year. Toyota’s PHEV will make its on-the-road debut as part of EDF Energy’s company fleet and will be tested by employees under every-day driving conditions. The modified plug-in Prius being tested will utilize nickel-metal hydride (NiMh) batteries, with an all-electric range of approximately 8 miles if the speed remains below 62 mph. When Toyota begins producing the plug-in Prius (expected for fleets in 2009), it will utilize superior lithium-ion batteries.
Toyota and EDF Energy are using an new charging and invoicing system which is incorporated into the PHEV. 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.
Early test results indicate that fuel efficiency of the Prius PHEV prototype is significantly higher than current Prius. For example, for trips up to 15.5 miles, the PHEV consumes roughly 60% less fuel than Toyota’s hybrid Prius. In other words, for these short trips the car is getting approximately 125 mpg. Not bad for a plug-in using NiMh batteries.
Source: Green Car Congress
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