The Europeans will soon be driving their own all-electric future
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- May 15, 2009
2010 Toyota Prius-III – When the Li-Ion equipped PHEV-variant arrives, expect it to offer upwards of 12 + miles of AER.
Toyota of Europe will be leasing 150 or more units of its experimental Prius-III PHEV to selected fleet customers across Europe as the next step towards commercialization. France will be the first country to participate in the three-year pilot, with discussions ongoing in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. Based on Toyota’s full hybrid technology, the new PHV will come equipped with a powerful lithium-ion battery, extending the vehicle’s range in electric vehicle mode for a silent and zero-emissions drive. The first wave of PHVs will reach Strasbourg in late 2009.
‘In the future, Prius-III PHEVs will be the perfect complement to the standard Prius. It offers a low carbon transport solution for customers wanting to drive longer distances using electricity, while still experiencing the traditional benefits of a full hybrid,’ said Tadashi Arashima, President and Chief Executive Officer of TME. ‘There is no better time to put our new PHEV through its paces. We have to assess its performance in a variety of markets with different infrastructure constraints, driving conditions and customer expectations,’ he added.
Toyota’s PHEV will overcome the obstacles associated with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) regarding high battery weight and costs, and limited cruising range. The upcoming next generation 2010 Prius-III is currently rated as the lowest CO2 output gasoline or diesel vehicle in the world with an emissions output of just 89 g/km on the European centric NEDC (New European Drive Cycle). Additionally, the all-new 2010 Prius-III offers a better ride, improved handling and its ever present quiet driving experience.
A PHEV can be driven as an EV for shorter and slower city commutes, while for high-speed, long-distance journeys it operates as a full hybrid, with its petrol engine serving as both a power source and battery generator when required. The battery is charged during driving, deceleration or braking, or by connecting its plug to a standard electrical point at home or at work.
Toyota has been road-testing a 2007 Toyota Prius-II PHEV-6/7 in Europe since 2007. This Prius-II PHEV is equipped with a two packs of Nickel Metal Hydride batteries vs. just one in the regular Prius-II hybrid. Around 100 units of the new Li-Ion equipped PHEVs will be leased to selected fleet customers and public bodies in Strasbourg, France, for a period of three years.
Part of the Strasbourg-based 2010 Prius-III PHEV-12/13 fleet will come equipped with an innovative charging system that ensures safe charging, communication between the plug and the vehicle, identification of the vehicle and automatic invoicing of electricity. A large number of charging points will also be established in users’ homes, the offices of business partners, in public parking lots and on public roads.
Toyota will deploy over 500 new PHEV-12/13s globally – including in Europe, Japan and the US – by 2010.