The Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) offers greater range on electric power only, significantly reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The PHV uses lithium-ion batteries – a first for Toyota – which can be charged from an external source as well as by the car’s own hybrid drive system.
Approximately 600 units will be introduced in Japan, the United States, and Europe over the first half of 2010. 20 will come to the UK in mid 2010.
The Prius PHVs will be leased to government ministries, local governments, corporations including electric power companies, universities and research agencies, for use in a demonstration programme aimed at collecting real-world driving data and spurring the development of battery-charging infrastructure.
In Europe, Toyota will lease approximately 200 units, 20 of which will come to the UK in mid-2010. The details of these UK leases will be the subject of a separate announcement closer to the time. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid will also be introduced in France and Portugal, with the company also considering 10 other European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, along with countries in other regions, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Prius PHV
can be charged using an external power source
such as a household electric outlet and is the
first vehicle produced by Toyota to be propelled
by a lithium-ion battery. Further, due to the
battery's expanded capacity, the vehicle has an
extended electric-vehicle driving range,
enabling use as an electric vehicle (EV) for
short distances. While for medium and long
distances, after battery power depletes to a
level no longer allowing EV driving mode, the
vehicle functions as a conventional
petrol-electric hybrid vehicle (HV). Thus, use
is not constrained by remaining battery power or
availability of battery-charging infrastructure.
Furthermore, PHVs, such as the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, are expected to achieve fuel efficiency superior to conventional petrol-electric HVs, reduce consumption of fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions and atmospheric pollution. Verifications and rules that gauge the performance of a PHV (i.e. official fuel consumption tests) differ from region to region, but in Europe, the Prius PHV emits only 59g CO2 per km in the New European Driving Cycle.