Starting next month, Toyota will lease 20 of its new plug-in Priuses to public individuals and private businesses in the UK. The fleet of prototype plug-ins will scurry on down the roads until 2013. By then, Toyota plans to launch a production version of its next-generation plug-in Prius. Toyota hopes to gain a further understanding of the plug-in hybrid technology by monitoring the fleet's status for the next three years.
The company believes that the plug-in hybrid design offers the best combination of fuel economy, reduced emissions and range. According to Toyota's preliminary numbers, the 2010 plug-in Prius emits just 59 grams per kilometer of CO2, while returning a combined fuel economy rating of 90.4 miles per gallon (U.S.), a number that's probably optimistic. Though many would argue that plug-in hybrids are not a long-term solution, the efficiency and emissions numbers for the Prius tell a different story. We could argue unendingly that electric vehicles are more efficient, but frankly, we're just glad to know that 20 more green vehicles will be tooling around each day. Hat tip to Larz!