With all the bad news about Toyota recently, it's about time for something a bit more positive. Toyota is in the process of deploying a fleet of several hundred plug-in Priuses in Japan, North America and Asia. Of the 200 Prius PHEVs destined for Europe, two are headed for the Norwegian capital of Oslo. Toyota Norge has reached an agreement to supply the plug-in hybrids for a three-year field test. The city of Oslo and trade group Energy Norway will run the test program jointly to evaluate real world performance as well as driver perceptions of the cars.
The vehicle usage tracking system will look at the efficiency of the PHEVs as well as how frequently and where drivers plug them in. Getting any advantage out of a plug-in hybrid requires that drivers keep the battery charged as much as possible in order to enable electric driving. If the car is not charged at every opportunity, it will not perform any better than a significantly less expensive non-plug hybrid. The cars will be delivered to Oslo in June 2010.
Toyota signs partnership agreement with City of Oslo and Energy Norway for Plug-in Hybrid (PHV) demonstration in Norway
Toyota Norge (TNO) yesterday signed a partnership agreement with the City of Oslo and the trade organisation Energy Norway to run a demonstration project with two Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles in Norway for three years as from June 2010. This project is part of Toyota's pan-European PHV limited lease programme that will involve around 200 vehicles on European roads with the support of Toyota Financial Services. Based on Toyota's full hybrid technology, PHV are equipped with a powerful lithium-ion battery extending the vehicle's range in electric vehicle mode allowing for zero-emissions driving. The Norwegian project has been granted support from the public organisation Transnova.
The announcement was made on Monday in Oslo during a public event where Michel Gardel, Vice President, Toyota Motor Europe and Lars-Erik Årøy, President, TNO signed a Letter of Intent with the partners represented by Jøran Kallmyr, Head of Transport and Environmental Affairs, City of Oslo and Kristian Pladsen, Communications Director, Energy Norway.
"Energy Norway is fully committed to contributing to the electrification of the Norwegian transport sector and to further strengthening the infrastructure as well as the possibilities for Plug-in Hybrids in Norway. We look forward to co-operating with Toyota," said Kristian Pladsen. Energy Norway is a trade organisation for about 260 generators, suppliers, distributors and contractors in Norway.
Jøran Kallmyr said: "The City of Oslo wants to be one the world's leaders when it comes to environment and sustainability, and has for years worked to increase the number of electric vehicles in the city. We are looking forward to working together with the industry to develop commercially available solutions for the future. PHVs are particularly interesting because they make it possible for families to have only one car that meets their different needs, without any range limitations".
"Together with Toyota Motor Europe we are delighted to welcome the City of Oslo and Energy Norway as our partners for this PHV demonstration in Norway", said Lars-Erik Årøy. "We often say that the PHV reflects 'the best of both worlds': it enhances the benefits of Toyota's full hybrid technology, while overcoming the constraints historically linked with electric vehicles. Now we have the opportunity to demonstrate this with two PHVs under the demanding real-life conditions in Norway".
The demonstration will assess the vehicle's performance in urban driving conditions while also gathering information about the experience of drivers and passengers. This includes an understanding of their habits and preferences when recharging the vehicle – either at home, using a standard electrical point, or at charging points at vehicle fleet depots and elsewhere.
Toyota's PHV adds an extended electric driving mode of around 20 km to the proven benefits of Toyota's full hybrid technology: low CO2, unrivalled NOx and particulate emissions, exceptional fuel efficiency, seamless acceleration and quiet driving. The PHV can be driven as an electric vehicle for shorter distances or city commutes, while for long-distance journeys it operates as a full hybrid with its petrol engine serving as both a power source and battery generator when required. The battery is charged during driving, deceleration or braking, or by connecting its plug to a standard electrical point at home or at work.
Toyota will deploy around 600 new PHVs globally in Japan, Europe and the US as from the end of 2009.