Toyota Motor Europe has announced that it will be leasing 150 of a new plug-in hybrid vehicle to fleet customers in Europe in a trial program. Beyond Europe, a total of 500 of the new vehicle will be tested around the world by 2010 in places including Japan and the U.S.
The three-year test program will start in France and gradually make its way through other European countries. Charging stations will be installed in users' homes and in other public areas for the trial. The plug-in hybrid will essentially be an extended-range vehicle equipped with a lithium-ion battery that allows the car to be used in full-electric mode for city commutes, but will still operate as a hybrid on long distance or high-speed drives.
The president of Toyota Motor Europe, Tadashi Arashima sees this new vehicle as "the perfect complement to the Prius." The trial program will allow the car to be tested in the different driving conditions it will encounter globally and allow the car company to make any necessary changes before bringing it to market.
At the Detroit Auto Show this year, Toyota promised a full-EV by 2012, so hopefully the plug-in hybrid will be in addition to them keeping their promise.
written by Fred, July 28, 2009
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