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Europe - Monday 14 December 2009
Pan-European Plug-in Hybrid Lease Programme officially started.

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Toyota today handed the first unit of its new generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid for the European continent to Mr. Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg (France), during a ceremony in Tokyo. The hand-over marks the start of a large-scale demonstration managed in partnership by Toyota, EDF, and the City and the Urban community of Strasbourg, which will involve about 100 Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHV). This project is part of Toyota’s pan-European PHV limited lease programme, whereby about 200 vehicles will be provided to selected public and private customers in more than 10 European countries including France, UK, Portugal, The Netherlands, and Germany.

"The Plug-in Hybrid technology is a key driver on our road towards sustainable mobility", Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Executive Vice-President Takeshi Uchiyamada said at the handover event. "Based on Toyota’s full hybrid powertrain, PHV represents today the most practical way of increasing the use of electricity for personal transport. Now we need to investigate market acceptance of this new technology, and we are delighted to have the City of Strasbourg on-board as one of our key partners in this ambitious project."

At the occasion of this event, the President of EDF, Henri Proglio, underlines that the EDF group, a major actor in sustainable development thanks to its low carbon electricity production, is very pleased to build on tomorrow’s mobility, together with Toyota and the local actors: "This demonstration in Strasbourg is a triple world premiere, whereby about one hundred PHVs with lithium-ion batteries will be tested for the first time, using an innovative charging infrastructure."

"Strasbourg has been chosen by Toyota and EDF to host this innovative experimentation, hereby confirming its pioneering role in sustainable and environmentally-friendly mobility", said Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg. "This is an international recognition of initiatives towards sustainable mobility, which started more than 20 years ago. The arrival of these new generation plug-in hybrid vehicles in our urban landscape will open a new chapter in our transport policy. It is a logical complement to earlier initiatives taken in the European capital, such as the arrival of the tram in 1994, the development of car sharing and the promotion of bicycles – all contributing to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions."

This project has received financial support via the Research Fund managed by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency ADEME. It is part of a global Toyota project involving 600 Prius Plug-in Vehicles that will also be deployed in Japan, the US, Canada and Australia. Toyota’s main objective is to investigate further the technology and performance of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles. EDF’s objective is to evaluate different operational options for the charging infrastructure. The joint goal is to broaden consumers’ understanding and acceptance, in preparation for broad commercialisation in the future.

For this demonstration, EDF and its subsidiary Electricité de Strasbourg (ES) will participate in a technical and financial partnership with all stakeholders, which will set up several hundred charging points at users’ homes, at the facilities of partners, in public parking lots and on public roads. Some vehicles will be equipped with a innovative charging system developed by EDF, able to support communication between the plug and the vehicle, identification of the vehicle and invoicing of energy, while ensuring safe charging..

The City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg will lease 5 PHVs, support the set up of public charging points and provide a subsidy to the local car sharing company to lease 3 PHVs. The other vehicles will be leased to various public institutions and private companies.

A Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle uses Toyota’s full hybrid technology, with the added benefit that its battery can be recharged using a standard electrical plug. Toyota’s PHV is “the best of both worlds”: for short distances, it can be driven as an electric vehicle, resulting in a silent, zero CO2 emissions drive. For longer distances, the PHV works as a conventional hybrid vehicle, providing all the benefits of Toyota’s full hybrid technology, including low emissions and fuel consumption, and excellent driving performance. Toyota expects the PHV to bring unsurpassed fuel efficiency and therefore record low emissions – as compared to any other mass-market vehicle on roads today. Based on the third generation Prius, the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid is equipped with a lithium-ion battery and emits only 59g CO2 per km in the New European Driving Cycle [1].

In the context of the EDF-Toyota partnership, European road trials of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles started in France in the autumn of 2007 and were expanded to the UK in 2008.

Today’s PHV handover ceremony took place in the context of the Strasbourg Christmas Market at the Tokyo International Forum.


Notes :

[1] CO2 emissions of Prius Plug-in Hybrid are measured according to the new official international regulation for plug-in hybrid electric powertrains, as adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

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Rédacteur : Daniel Giaccone
Sources : Toyota Europe
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