• Apr 13, 2010
2010 Plug-in Prius Prototypes – Click above for high-res image gallery

The reason we just got to drive the new plug-in Prius hybrid in San Diego is because Toyota is introducing the vehicle to the U.S. during the company's second Sustainable Mobility Seminar (see our full coverage of the first event, held in 2008 in Portland, OR here, here and here). Now that the event is in full-swing, the company has announced some more details about how and where the car will come to the U.S.

150 units will be used across the U.S. by "universities, corporations, city, state and federal governments, car sharing programs and other subject matter experts." Some of the groups that will get PHEV Priuses are: Qualcomm, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Southern California Air Quality Management District, University of California, Berkeley, University of Colorado, and Portland State University. There will be more groups announced in the future.

Also included in the press release of this announcement (find it after the jump) is some more information about the PHEV's three-part lithium-ion battery pack:
The first generation lithium-ion drive battery's unique composition is the key to the PHVs expanded all-electric power. The battery is composed of three packs, one main battery and two additional packs. At vehicle start, the PHV operates in all-electric mode, drawing electrical power directly from battery pack one. When pack one's battery charge is depleted, it disconnects from the circuit and pack two engages and supplies electrical energy to the motor. When pack two is depleted it disconnects from the circuit and the system defaults to conventional hybrid mode, using the main battery as the sole electrical power source. Pack one and pack two will not reengage in tandem with the main battery pack until the vehicle is plugged in and charged.

Toyota has also started up a new ESQ Communications website (that's Enviriomental, Safety, Quality to the rest of us) with all sorts of details on the seminar, the PHEV Prius program and more.



[Source: Toyota]

PRESS RELEASE

Toyota Stages Sustainable Mobility Seminar

- Explores Future Mobility with Global Experts in Energy, Science and Economics
- Launches Environmental, Safety & Quality Communications Web Site
- Provides First Drive of Prius Plug-in Hybrid Demonstration Vehicle
- Announces PHV Demonstration Program Details and Partnerships

LA JOLLA, Calif., April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) today stages the "2010 Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar" featuring presentations and panel discussions from global experts in energy, science and economics, exploring the future of mobility.

"Our business is no longer simply about building and selling cars and trucks," said John Hanson, national manger, environmental, safety and quality communications. "To provide truly sustainable mobility for the future, we must explore new energy sources, new partnerships and new ways of doing business."

The seminar morning panel entitled "Drivers for Change" includes:

* Dr. Mickey Glantz, director of the Consortium for Capacity Building at the University of Colorado, discussing climate change and society.
* Dr. Michael Dettinger, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, discussing water scarcity and its ties to energy.
* Dr. Frank Wolak, department of economics at Stanford University, discussing the economics of climate change.
* Dr. William Shutkin, LEEDS School of Business at the University of Colorado, discussing urban planning and transportation.
* Gordon Feller, CEO of Urban Age Institute, panel moderator.


The lunch speaker, Dr. Scott Samuelson, National Fuel Cell Research Center, University of California, Irvine will speak on "The Role of Fuel Cell Technology in the Future of Transportation."

The seminar afternoon panel entitled "Powering our Future" includes:

* Dr. Jan Kreider, University of Colorado, discussing low carbon fuels.
* Robert Bryce, author and editor of the Energy Tribune, discussing rare earth metals and their use in advanced batteries.
* Jay Whitacre, Carnegie Melon University, discussing advanced batteries.
* Alison Peters, managing director of the Deming Center of Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, panel moderator.


The keynote address at dinner will be from Dr. Peter Wells, Neftex Petroleum Consultants, on the geopolitics of energy. Tuesday's event can be viewed beginning at 8:30 AM (Pacific) on http://www.ustream.tv/channel/toyotausa.

The seminar for business, automotive and environmental media and analysts also offers attendees the first opportunity to drive the 2010 Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHV) demonstration program vehicle. The Prius PHV expands Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology with the introduction of a first generation lithium-ion drive battery that enables all-electric operation at higher speeds and longer distances than the conventional Prius. When fully charged, the vehicle is targeted to achieve a maximum electric-only range of approximately 13 miles and will be capable of achieving highway speeds up to 60 mph in electric-only mode. For longer distances, the Prius PHV reverts to "hybrid mode" and operates like a regular Prius.

The first generation lithium-ion drive battery's unique composition is the key to the PHVs expanded all-electric power. The battery is composed of three packs, one main battery and two additional packs. At vehicle start, the PHV operates in all-electric mode, drawing electrical power directly from battery pack one. When pack one's battery charge is depleted, it disconnects from the circuit and pack two engages and supplies electrical energy to the motor. When pack two is depleted it disconnects from the circuit and the system defaults to conventional hybrid mode, using the main battery as the sole electrical power source. Pack one and pack two will not reengage in tandem with the main battery pack until the vehicle is plugged in and charged.

The Prius PHV demonstration program will place 150 vehicles in the U.S. with universities, corporations, city, state and federal governments, car sharing programs and other subject matter experts. Today Toyota announced that demonstration vehicles will be placed with Qualcomm, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Southern California Air Quality Management District, University of California, Berkeley, University of Colorado, and Portland State University. Additional program partners are being finalized.

The PHV demonstration program will allow Toyota to gather real world vehicle-use feedback to better understand customer expectations for plug-in technology. It will confirm, in a wide variety of in-use applications, the overall performance of first-generation lithium-ion battery technology and, hopefully, spur the development of public-access charging station infrastructure.

More importantly the program is aimed at market preparedness for plug-in hybrids, which will arrive at Toyota dealerships in 2012, along with an all new battery electric commuter vehicle.

"It is imperative that consumers fully understand both the potential and the challenges involved in the electrification of the automobile," said Hanson. "Through this demonstration program, and a similar program for our hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, consumers will be informed on how these new mobility alternatives will fit with their transportation needs, their lifestyles and their budget."

This year, TMS and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. are expanding a separate demonstration program for the FCHV-adv, hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. This cross-affiliate program will place more than 100 fuel cell vehicles with universities, private companies and government agencies in both California and New York over the next three years.

For example, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has received 10 Toyota FCHV-adv vehicles, which will be in use for approximately two years. The vehicles will be used primarily in and around John F. Kennedy International Airport with one of the vehicles set up for active use on the runways.

Toyota's expanded demonstration program will provide one of the largest fleets of active fuel cell vehicles in the country with the primary goal of spurring essential hydrogen infrastructure development. The demonstration program also will serve to confirm the reliability and performance of fuel cell technology prior to its 2015 market introduction. Over the course of the FCHV-adv demonstration program, as new hydrogen stations come online, additional regions and partners will be added.

In conjunction with the Sustainable Mobility Seminar, TMS Environmental, Safety and Quality (ESQ) Communications launched a new Web site, www.toyota.com/esq, to inform and educate interested parties on key Toyota environmental, safety and quality initiatives. The Web site is a portal for all Toyota ESQ information and was designed as a resource for both media and consumers. It will offer information on such topics as advanced safety features and initiatives, philanthropic endeavors, green manufacturing, intelligent transport systems, quality processes and procedures and more. This resource for news, events and seminars continually will be updated and expanded, including information from important and influential "other voices" outside of Toyota.

All Sustainable Mobility Seminar presentations, panel discussions, Q&A and take-away materials will be available online. In addition, the site will provide "dashboard" details on advanced technology demonstration programs and vehicle performance information. As demonstration program vehicles gather miles, data such as fuel economy, miles driven, charge incidents and additional content will be available on the Web site. Providing clear and transparent in-use data to customers is a key step to market preparedness.

"True sustainable mobility will not be achieved without societal acceptance," concluded Hanson. "In the end, the customer and the market will decide
."


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