Toyota and EDF Testing Plug-in Prius in UK
Plug-in Hybrid TrialToyota and EDF (Électricité de France) has had a partnership to test plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) for over a year now. It started in France, and it is now expanding to the UK. The plug-in hybrids are modified Toyota Prius hybrids. Extra NiMH battery packs extend their all-electric range, and they can be recharged from the grid (something the regular Prius can't do).
Plug-In Prius Hybrids in the UKAccording to Toyota (pdf), "The UK partnership is designed to evaluate vehicle performance within an urban environment, vehicle infrastructure requirements, and driver behaviours and expectations." Read on for more on the UK trial.
The right-hand drive PHEVs will be driven by EDF employees and tested under everyday driving conditions. To make charging the cars easier, EDF has helped install 40 charging stations (see picture above), a first for the UK, and more are coming.
So far the results seem good:
Early test results indicate that fuel efficiency of the Prius PHEV prototype is significantly higher than current Prius. For example, for trips up to 25 km (15.5 miles), the PHEV consumes roughly 60% less fuel than Toyota’s hybrid Prius. One of the research objectives of the UK tests is to confirm such PHEV performance.
They could certainly get even better results with a vehicle that was designed from the start to be a plug-in, and with lithium-ion batteries to further extend the electric range, making the gas engine turn on less often.
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