Plug-In Prius prototype in Nashville today

The Congressional Tennessee Valley Authority Caucus is a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives from the Tennessee Valley Authority area (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia). Today, the Caucus will hold a field hearing on electric drive vehicles in Nashville, and Toyota will be showing off the plug-in Prius prototype there. We're familiar with the Toyota PHEV Prius PR routine (we took one for a drive late last year at EVS23), but we'd be much happier about these events if certain Toyota execs didn't spend so much time downplaying the plug-in hybrid.

In any case, Toyota will also have Camry and Highlander hybrid models on display at the Caucus hearing, as well as a regular Prius. More details after the break.

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Press Release:

Toyota To Display Plug-In Prius at Congressional TVA Caucus Field Hearing in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Toyota will display a prototype plug-in Prius hybrid at Legislative Plaza on Monday, June 16, during a field hearing on electric drive vehicles called for by the Congressional TVA Caucus.

The prototype Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) enhances the high fuel economy and ultra-low emissions of the popular Toyota Prius production hybrid model with an expanded Nickel-Metal-Hydride battery pack that can be charged by plugging into a standard household electrical outlet. With more electric power in reserve, the vehicle is capable of operating in pure-electric mode for longer periods of time and at speeds up to 60 mph.

By 2010, Toyota will have its next generation plug-in hybrid with Lithium-Ion batteries being tested by commercial fleets in the U.S. and elsewhere. With over 1.5 million hybrid sales worldwide, Toyota is the established leader in hybrid technology.

"As we look ahead, we believe hybrids will continue to raise the bar for new technology," said Robert Wimmer, Toyota's national manager for Technical and Regulatory Affairs, Energy & Environmental Research. "Plug-in hybrids can offer substantial gains in fuel economy and a reduction in total tailpipe emissions."

Toyota will also display current hybrid production models, including Prius, Camry and Highlander. These much in demand models are producing considerable fuel savings and reduced emissions.

"When considering the benefit of new technologies, we must understand the relationship between large sales volumes and fuel savings," Wimmer said. "For example, if we double sales of a hybrid model, the fuel savings is greater than doubling its fuel economy with no change in sales volume. Therefore, it is critical that new technologies, such as plug-ins and fuel cells are introduced at a price point and utility that allow for high volume sales. Otherwise, their environmental benefit will be negligible.

The Congressional TVA Caucus field hearings on electric drive vehicles will begin at 10:15 a.m. in Senate Hearing Room 12. A tour of all manufacturer's vehicles and a media availability will take place at the main entrance of Legislative Plaza on 6th Avenue from 9:30 to 10 a.m.

[Source: Toyota]

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