Toyota to Road-Test Plug-In Hybrids in Japan and the United States
August 8, 2007
Toyota Motor Corporation announced in late July that it has developed a prototype plug-in hybrid vehicle, called the Plug-in HV, which is based on its Prius hybrid vehicle. The new prototype features a larger battery pack than is used in the standard Prius, but unlike many plug-in prototypes, it employs today's nickel-metal-hydride batteries rather than the next-generation lithium-ion batteries. As a result, the Plug-in HV can travel only 8 miles in its all-electric mode, while most plug-in prototypes target typical commuting distances of 20 to 40 miles. The Plug-in HV has been certified for use on public roads in Japan, and eight of the vehicles will be tested there. Toyota will also provide the plug-in prototypes to the University of California campuses in Berkeley and Irvine as part of an ongoing sustainable mobility development program. See the press releases from Toyota on its activities in Japan and the United States.
A new study from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council confirms that plug-in hybrids could significantly reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum consumption, while also improving nationwide air quality. The study also concludes that there is a sufficient supply of electricity to support plug-in hybrids, even if they gain substantial market share. See the EPRI press release and report.