Toyota Road Tests Plug-in Hybrid in the UK ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Toyota Road Tests Plug-in Hybrid in the UK

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Toyota Road Tests Plug-in Hybrid in the UK

Toyota has begun road testing a plug-in hybrid Prius in the UK. This is the fifth country Toyota has chosen to test their plug-in hybrid technology. They have also begun testing in Japan, US, France, and Belgium.

Toyota and EDF Energy, the British subsidiary of the French energy company EDF, held a joint press conference on September 10th to kick off the testing. UK Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform John Hutton, other members of the UK Parliament, London municipal government officials and the Japanese Ambassador to the United Kingdom Shin Ebihara were there to participate in the press conference.

At the press conference, TMC's Saga, who is in charge of hybrid system development, said, "We are very excited to expand our PHV road testing program to the UK in collaboration with EDF Energy. Today's announcement represents a step-change towards acceptance of electricity in combination with hybrid technology as a viable and sustainable transport solution."

The road tests, which should last more than one year, are used to evaluate the infrastructure, vehicle performance, and ease of use. Participant drivers will be surveyed as part of the evaluation process.

While the current tests involve use of vehicles equipped with nickel-metal hydride batteries, TMC is also accelerating development of plug-in hybrid vehicles equipped with lithium-ion batteries. Sales of the latter to fleet customers in Japan, the United States and Europe are planned to begin - ahead of the original schedule - by the end of 2009.

But note that it will be fleet customers who will get their hands on the new plug-ins first. Unlike the Chevy Volt, which GM plans on mass producing almost immediately.

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