Toyota and EDF Energy today launch a three-year leasing programme that brings ultra-low emissions plug-in hybrid vehicle technology to the streets of London.
The first Toyota Prius Plug-in to reach the UK are joining the vehicle fleets of five businesses and public organisations, where they will demonstrate the fuel efficiency, low emissions, cost savings and everyday practicality their rechargeable hybrid power system can deliver.
The real-world experiences of the drivers and fleet operators will provide both companies and UK Government with valuable insights into driver attitudes and usage patterns to help them design their strategies for introducing plug-in hybrids and recharging technologies. It will also help inform and shape public policy in this field.
Thanks to information recorded through EDF Energy’s charging infrastructure, the programme will deliver valuable intelligence about the benefits gained in energy savings and reduced emissions, recharging patterns and preferences.
The leasing programme is part of the Technology Strategy Board’s Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme, and benefits from funding support from the UK Government, through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
The organisations and businesses taking part in the programme are Transport for London, the Government Car and Despatch Agency, the Metropolitan Police Service, News International and Sky.
Miguel Fonseca, Managing Director Toyota (GB) PLC, said: “I am delighted to be joining with EDF Energy to launch the UK’s largest plug-in hybrid programme, a project that will deliver valuable insights into the behaviour and preferences of UK drivers as they engage with the technology for the first time and experience it in their everyday driving routines. Toyota is committed to developing sustainable, low emissions mobility and Prius Plug-in marks another important element in our environmental leadership, and a further step towards its ambition of building the ultimate eco-car.
“I also welcome the partnership Toyota has formed with EDF Energy, with the Government organisations that are supporting us, and the end-users who have signed up to the programme. I am confident that everyone involved will gain important benefits through the course of the programme.
EDF Energy Managing Director of ESCS Martin Lawrence said: “I am delighted that EDF Energy, the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity, can play such an important role in the research and demonstration of these new vehicles. And I’m proud to collaborate with Toyota on this project as it builds on the success of the first plug-in hybrid vehicle trial which began a year ago.
“The new Government has committed to a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The demonstration that we launch today plays a key part in that development. Transport currently accounts for around a fifth of the country’s carbon footprint and the take up of clean, electric transport can help the UK meet its climate change targets.
“Sustainability is at the core of our business and it is work like this that helps EDF Energy meet the climate change targets set out in our new Sustainability Commitments.”
The cars involved in the lease programme are essentially the same as the current third-generation full hybrid Prius, but they are equipped with a powerful lithium-ion battery that can be recharged simply by being connected to a standard 240V electricity supply. EDF Energy has identified appropriate plug, socket, wiring and cabling specifications to comply with BS7671 safety standards, while maintaining fundamental ease of use. The charging points incorporate a keypad that enables each user and vehicle to be identified when recharging takes place.
The rechargeable battery technology gives Prius Plug-in extended capabilities when it is driven in EV (electric vehicle) mode: capable of running for up to 12.5 miles solely on its electric motor – battery charge and road conditions permitting – at speeds up to 62mph, it can accomplish the great majority of typical urban journeys with zero fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions. Prius Plug-in’s combined cycle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are 108.6mpg and 59g/km respectively.
Should the battery charge be used up in the course of a journey, Prius Plug-in will seamlessly switch to power from its efficient 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine, meaning the driver need suffer no “range anxiety” about the distance his or her car might manage.
As part of a worldwide initiative involving 600 Prius Plug-in, 200 of which are in Europe, the London programme will support Toyota’s plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid vehicle to the market within the next few years.
EDF Energy is the UK’s largest producer of low carbon electricity. Sustainability is at the heart of its business, as expressed in its recently launched Sustainability Commitments, which are among the biggest package of environmental and social initiatives to be announced by a UK energy company.
Its vision for powering a low carbon Britain not only requires the decarbonisation of electricity, but also low carbon transport. Supporting this goal, EDF Energy is marking a significant milestone in its on-going collaboration with Toyota by powering what is the UK’s largest plug-in hybrid vehicle leasing programme.
EDF Energy is also working with the Greater London Authority with the aim of installing up to 550 public access charging points across the capital, as part of the Plugged in Places programme.
* European homologation combined cycle. CO2 emissions of Prius Plug-in Hybrid are measured according to the new official international regulations for plug-in hybrid electric powertrains, as adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.