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EDF Energy and Toyota Launch UK Trials of PHEV

Charging the Prius PHEV in Westminster. Click to enlarge.

EDF Energy and Toyota are extending their European plug-in hybrid testing program to the UK. The beginning of the UK road trials marks the first introduction of a PHEV by a car manufacturer to the UK.

The trial builds on the first European PHEV testing program launched by Toyota and EDF on French roads in September 2007. (Earlier post.) The UK partnership is designed to evaluate vehicle performance within an urban environment, vehicle infrastructure requirements, and driver behaviors and expectations.

Trials started today and will continue for more than one year. Toyota’s right-hand drive 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.

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 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.

The tests also aim at understanding consumers’ acceptance of the new technology, as a preparation to broader commercialization in the future. Toyota has already confirmed that it will sell lithium-ion battery-equipped PHEVs to fleet customers in Europe and other regions by the end of 2009.


John Taylor

OK Toyota. Finally, the plug in Prius!

This is the next step towards a green sustainable future.


Just start selling them already, Toyota!


I like the idea of placing these recharge stations at what seems to be the same place as a regular parking meter would go -along urban roadways and parking lots- should work into a regular person's lifestyle a lot more seamlessly than expecting people to line-up and wait at a recharging 'bar/station' for who knows how long (5 - 30 mins?). At the same time as a person is stopping to do an errand they can fully -or just partly- top up the battery - and off they go.
I wonder about the security, useability, and safety of leaving - what? a 240V outlet - at several locations in 24hr/7day public view. You run one of those over or it gets snowed under by a plow - with wet conductive surfaces- and you have some serious current flowing (a gfi could handle this?) - of course light standards get knocked over constantly....


Toyota and EDF may be in the process of setting up essential International Standards for public PHEV/BEV recharge stations.

If so, it would be a great necessary step forward.

Let's hope that somebody will design modular compatible HEV/PHEV/BEV battery packs (modules) in the near future. Buyers should have the option to buy as many modules as they individually require or can afford.


You can rely on EDF and Toyota to design and install very safe public charging stations.

Kit P

“The tests also aim at understanding consumers’ acceptance of the new technology …”

Consumer acceptance is one reason why BEV are MIA and PHEV are DOA in the US.

This is hard for some here to accept. For example, E-P is strongly in favor EVs but there will never be an EV that he will accept as a consumer. Everyone loves convertibles, but very few are actually bought.

“Early test results indicate that fuel efficiency of the Prius PHEV prototype is significantly higher than current Prius.”

Note the careful choice of words. EDF did not say energy efficient. EDF runs more nuclear power plants than any other company in the world. EDF’s nukes and many in the EU load follow. If properly managed by EDF, PHEV would be powered by excess nuke capacity could be used to ‘fuel’ PHEV.

Reality Czech
You run one of those over or it gets snowed under by a plow - with wet conductive surfaces- and you have some serious current flowing (a gfi could handle this?) - of course light standards get knocked over constantly....
A GFI would handle this easily. The main power switches could also be located below the pavement, or in a central power box wired back to the meter. If no car was connected, the power to the above-ground wiring would be off.

"Consumer acceptance is one reason why BEV are MIA and PHEV are DOA in the US."

Americans [like most people in the world] are sheep [sheeple]. If the PTB had just put in as much effort selling this idea as they did the war in Iraq there wouldn't be a problem.

If the BEV people could only give the mAD men of Madison Ave the kind of money JR Reynolds do.


Kit P:

Public acceptance of BEVs will come within a few years when:

1) range is 350+ Km
2) quick charging times 10 minutes.
3) price $25K to $35K for mid-size cars.

Meanwhile, PHEVs from many manufacturers will invade the roads starting in 2009/10.

PHEVs and BEVs will co-exist for many years to satisfy personal preferences.

Mnay (improved) HEVs will still be around by 2020.


If you could sell a Prius PHEV with 20+mi range on electricity for $20-25k, it would sell very briskly.

You need 100mi+ range, probably 120-150mi range for a pure EV at the same price point to sell significant numbers of them.

For both, battery cost remains an issue since for the PHEV scenario you need a battery 10x+ bigger than the current battery in the Prius and for the EV scenario you need a battery 60-100x+ bigger.

For a small EV or mid-size PHEVs battery technology is close - HyMotion is able to sell a Prius PHEV kit for $10k with a 5kWh pack which gives you 30-40 miles of 100+mpg driving (probably roughly equivalent to 15-20 miles of pure EV range).

Toyota could probably integrate similar functionality into the car for about half that cost, but the only way you're going to get one somewhat reasonably priced today is to buy a high mileage Prius for about $15k and then add on the Hymotion kit for another $10k.

Kit P


Let me show you how to construct a sentence without using the word ‘if’.

I can buy a new Corolla for $15k that meets economically meets the needs of my family. When some there is some independent evidence that HEV or PHEV have environmental benefit, I will consider the economic cost of hauling around batteries.

@ ai vin
I can understand why ai vin is confused by apparently spoiled American youth who love to build hot rods (even out of EU econo boxes) but will give it all up to go over and save sheep who have been enslaved by goose stepping dictators. This was again demonstrated in Iraq with the help of the many non sheep who live in the EU and elsewhere, who understand that standing up to evil is how not to be a sheep.

Bob Bastard

Let me show you how to construct a sentence without using the word ‘if’.

You may wish to start off by constructing a grammatically correct sentence, which would be in stark contrast to your last post above.


@Kit P
Please note I said 'put in as much effort selling this idea as'
I didn't say 'instead of.' The issue of whether or not you should be in Iraq is something only history can say was a good or bad idea.

Still the point stands; if people can be convinced to inhale something they know is going to kill them[cigarettes], drink something that can strip paint[Coca Cola], try every other diet plan that comes down the pike or believe in devils, angels, young Earth creationism, mystical crystals, little gray aliens, etc. ---- sheep is what they are.


If you want onstreet charging, just make it pre-pay.

You put in 1 or 2 euro coins and get your juice.

The car can be programmed to tell you how much it can take, and if you overpay, it just stops charging.

This avoids the needs for links between the car and charging stations - keep it as simple as possible.

Kit P

I certainly understand the point that ai vin is making. Is ai vin willing to concede that green marketing is aimed at the gullible and not supported by ISO 14000 LCA decision making?

The point I am trying to make is that PHEV might be a good idea in France and not in the US.

KitP - "I can buy a new Corolla for $15k that meets economically meets the needs of my family."

Yes you can and it is economic only because petrol is cheap. Successive US administrations have made it their core business to keep petrol cheap and this is why your Corolla is economic.

If you paid the true cost of keeping the petrol cheap and the environmental cost of petrol then it would be much much more expensive.

All of this may not be true in the future as the US efforts to keep petrol cheap over the last few years have cost perhaps more that the US has. Please do not insult us with pretentions of dictator removal as if this was the core objective of American foreign policy they would be working to a list that does not include oil reserves as a prerequisite - I mean how many people are hankering to invade Zimbabwe and remove the murderous dictator there?

PHEVS and EVs are in investment in the future where the US Army may not always be counted on to get cheap oil. The good thing is that you do not have to kill people to get the wind and the sun as it is freely shining on your country as it is mine.


Sorry I forgot to include my name in the last post

Kit P


My Corolla is economical because it it does not cost very much, it has low maintenance cost, gets good mileage, and we do not drive a lot. All of these are a result of careful decision making. I would not expect ender to understand barbecue he is not very smart. I say that because he thinks EVs and PHEV are not an investment.

Ender is not very smart because he want to interject politics into a technical discussion. So ender tell me where you are from? I will be happy to correct any misconceptions you have about the US and your country.

Henry Gibson

Never ever should Battery-Electric-Vehicles be sold for highway use. The worries about batteries are eliminated with the PHEV concept. Modern lead-acid batteries are useful in PHEV as CALCARS demostrated. Also AC Propulsion demostrated the effective use of lead-batteries in its TZERO and its prototypes with their hybrid trailers. There has been an expensive, but high energy battery available for over ten years, the ZEBRA battery. For those with a lot of money to spend on a battery that will last longer than any car, have a ZEBRA battery fitted to assist the Prius battery and you can drive to one end of LA from the other and back on city streets without using one drop of gasoline. But is is cheaper to actually use gasoline than to buy a larger LiIon battery.

The term HIDDEN-HUMMER is now introduced into the automobile world. The production prototype is the TESLA. Pre-production prototypes are the WrightSpeed and the TZERO and some others. The H-H is a high performance high cost PHEV or BEV vehicle with performance characteristics beyond any need for US highway use and far beyond the needs of the average commuter. The H-H is the moral equivalent of the BUGATTIs of the gasoline world. They are the extreme demonstration that no new car is bought for its economy of price or its economy of operation. They are just expensive mobile pieces of art. ..HG..

KitP - "Ender is not very smart because he want to interject politics into a technical discussion."

What are you upset because I did it before you could? It is only mentioned because for some reason oil and politics are inextracably bound up in the US as coal is here in Australia. You currently have virtually the ex-board members and ex-CEOs of most major oil companies for your executive leadership - what would you expect them to concentrate on?

I have a small 4 cylinder car for exactly the same reasons as you however it remains economic only because petrol, though more expensive here, is still cheap and is only a small part of my household budget. This would not be the case if it was $10.00/litre instead of about $AUD1.60 per liter. My country, because we had a lap-dog for a Prime Minister then, went to war with you yes thats true however I did not approve of it then. Australia's current accounts just blew out because of, guess what, increased oil imports. Unless we do something soon we will go down the toilet faster than you.

PHEVS and EVs are in investment for a time when oil supplies are low and prices are high are IC cars are no longer economical no matter how small they are.

Andrey Levin

The beauty of Prius PHEV is that it is production HEV with very small alterations: different gearing of electric motors, slightly beefed-up motors, different software, and only one additional piece of relatively inexpensive hardware – battery charger.

The only critical piece missing is battery (for evaluation purposes Toyota uses just two regular Prius Ni-Mh batteries; Ni-Mh is poor chemistry for PHEV). However, any current or future battery (apparently Li chemistry is leading candidate) could be just dropped in, when economy of battery/gasoline price ratio will be right.

Effectively it means that we already have reliable back-up technology for cars if we “run out of oil”. It is comforting.


@Ender. Well said, I strongly agree with your sentiment.

To anyone who thinks there is a "silver bullet" technical solution to peak oil and GW issues. Please take a 5 min time out.

The optimum "energy efficient" transportation mode depends on so many different factors. The solution will be different for different folks. We are not all going to walk and take buses. Neither will everyone want to drive an EV Hummer.

Here are a few variables: Range requirement, carrying capacity, duty cycle, social needs, availability of public transport, personal wealth, perceived social status, prefferred living standard, etc etc.

I live in a small crowded city. A mid size 80-120 mile range EV is ideal for me. It's what I want. I don't want to mess around with a complex PHEV and I don't much like to ride on buses. I'm happy to take my chances with the whatever batteries and charging infrastructure is available. I think there's a pretty big market for this particular solution.

If I move to Darkest Peru with no electricity I'll want a small off road diesel.


“A mid size 80-120 mile range EV is ideal for me.”

Is this hypothetical or has Andrew applied his list of variables to actual experience?


Hey Kit,

I'll have to make one myself, so that will take a while. Don't worry, there are plenty of personal accounts about EV ownership. You can read up.

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed therin are forward looking statements. They may or may not be based on actual fact. This is not be construed as investment advice.


@ Andrey Levin:

I agree with you that upgrable PHEVs (Toyota Prius or many others available by 2010/11) will be good sellers for many years.

The 2009/10 Prius PHEV NiHM (2x) batteries could, in principle, easily be replaced with (4x) Lithium units to multiply effective e-range by 3x or 4x by 2015/16.

The ugraded Prius PHEV could easily last another 10 years.

For famillies with 2 cars, a BEV for shorter trips would make sense whenever quick charge 40+ KWh batteries become affordable. This may not be true much before 2015.


Personal accounts about EV are mostly fairy tales. Good luck with your project Andrew.

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