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Toyota kicks off plug-in EV fleet trial

Date: 24 June 2010

Toyota is planning a 59g/km plug-in Prius that will fall into the Government's new halved BIK banding

Toyota has launched its fleet trial of the plug-in electric Prius, with 19 cars being leased to five organisations over a three-year period ahead of a mass-produced version due on sale in early 2012.

Sky, News International, the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London and the Government Car and Dispatch Agency have all signed up to the scheme that's being run in conjunction with energy firm EDF, which will install 30 charging points at homes and offices. The cars will be leased from Toyota for somewhere below £400 per vehicle. Sky and News International take two each, with the others each leasing five vehicles, while Toyota GB will also retain a car.

The trial is part of a scheme that will also see 100 cars piloted in France.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle is a standard Prius that's also equipped with a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, which is capable of running for up to 12.5 miles on pure electric power, and at up to 62mph. The electric running gives the car an official emissions figure of 59g/km and fuel economy of 108.6mpg, and Toyota GB boss Miguel Fonseca described the Prius PHV as "the best of both worlds", as the car's regular petrol-electric hybrid system kicks in when the rechargeable battery runs low, ending range anxiety issues.

"Our aims are to understand the conditions of use and acceptance, evaluate vehicle and infrastructure performance, help facilitate technology take-up and communication and contribute to public policy and regulatory review," said Fonseca, with a range of data being gathered including number, date, length and time of journeys and energy usage, time and length of charging, as well as surveys of end users. "We are living through history and I'm proud and delighted to be a part of it," he said.

The Department for Transport's director of environment and international Graham Pendlebury said the pilot's data will be "invaluable in forming future policy."