Toyota Motor Europe (TME) will lease more than 150 units of its experimental Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) to selected fleet customers across Europe as a next step towards commercialization. Toyota says it will deploy more than 500 new PHVs in global trials—including in Europe, Japan and the US—by 2010.
France will be the first country to participate in the three-year European pilot, with discussions ongoing in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. Based on Toyota’s full hybrid technology, the new PHV will come equipped with a lithium-ion battery, extending the vehicle’s range in electric vehicle mode. The first wave of PHVs will reach Strasbourg in late 2009.
In the future, the PHV will be the perfect complement to Prius. It offers a low carbon transport solution for customers wanting to drive longer distances using electricity, while still experiencing the traditional benefits of a full hybrid. There is no better time to put our new PHV through its paces. We have to assess its performance in a variety of markets with different infrastructure constraints, driving conditions and customer expectations.—Tadashi Arashima, President and Chief Executive Officer of TME
Toyota’s PHV can be driven as an electric vehicle for city commutes, while for high-speed, long-distance journeys it operates as a full hybrid, with its gasoline engine serving as both a power source and battery generator when required. The battery is charged during driving, deceleration or braking, or by connecting its plug to a standard electrical point at home or at work.
In partnership with EDF, Toyota has been road-testing a PHV (equipped with a Nickel Metal Hydride battery) in Europe since 2007. Around 100 units of the new lithium-ion PHV will be leased to selected fleet customers and public bodies in Strasbourg, France, for a period of three years. (Earlier post.)
Part of the Strasbourg-based PHV fleet will come equipped with an innovative charging system that ensures safe charging, communication between the plug and the vehicle, identification of the vehicle and automatic invoicing of electricity. A large number of charging points will also be established in users’ homes, the offices of business partners, in public parking lots and on public roads.