Toyota Testing Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV)

By dancurranjr On September 10th, 2008

Toyota has started a trial – which is due to last for at least a year – of a plug-in hybrid version of the Prius, known as the PHV.

As with other hybrids, the batteries of the standard Prius are recharged every time the car coasts or slows down. The PHV’s batteries can also be fully charged by attaching them to the mains, and when this happens the car can then be driven for short distances operating entirely as an electric vehicle, since there is no need for the petrol engine to fire up.

The benefits in terms of fuel economy and CO2 emissions are obvious, and part of the trial process is to confirm just how extensive they are (Toyota currently reckons that the PHV uses around 60% less fuel than the conventional hybrid in journeys of up to 25km).

Other aims of the trial are to help Toyota understand consumer acceptance of the technology, and to test out the charging and invoicing system developed by Toyota and EDF Energy. If everything goes according to plan, plug-in Priuses will start being sold to fleet customers in Europe towards the end of 2009.

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