Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA will place ten Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHV) with Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity project in Boulder, Colorado. The vehicles will be the focus of an interdisciplinary research project coordinated by the University of Colorado at Boulder Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), a new joint venture between the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The SmartGridCity project is the first fully functioning smart grid enabled city. Its goal is to provide increased grid reliability and energy use information. It will also allow participating customers to remotely control in-home energy management devices.
RASEI, Xcel Energy and TMS will use this program to gather data on vehicle performance and charging patterns, consumer behavior and preferences, as well as electric utility/customer interactions. The locale offers the additional benefit of monitoring high altitude, cold climate performance of Toyota’s first generation lithium-ion battery.
The ten vehicles participating in the project are part of a 150 vehicle demonstration fleet arriving in the US in early 2010. The Prius PHV is targeted to achieve a maximum electric only range of approximately 12 miles and will be capable of achieving highway speeds in electric only mode. For longer distances, the PHV concept reverts to “hybrid mode” and operates like a regular Prius.
The vehicles are targeted for delivery to the SmartCityGrid project in March 2010.