The Japanese guys from Toyota have already started their testing of the plug-in Prius on the streets of France. They are doing these tests in partnership with EDF (Électricité de France). They are testing their Toyota PHEVs with the help of their employees in a real urban environment. They have already built a charger infrastructure and a method for charging the users’ pockets, incorporated in the vehicle’s software.
Their PHEVs have NiMH batteries, following that the future models to be equipped with Li-Ion batteries, for extended range and increased power. For the moment, the Prius in an all-electric mode can travel for 8 miles if the speed does not exceed 62mph. That’s ok, knowing that urban areas don’t require this speed, nor breath-taking accelerations from 0 to 60, so the vehicle’s independence might be higher.
Early test results indicate that fuel efficiency of the Prius PHEV prototype is significantly higher than current Prius. For example, for trips up to 15.5 miles, the PHEV consumes roughly 60% less fuel than Toyota’s hybrid Prius. In other words, for these short trips the car is getting approximately 125 mpg. Not bad for a plug-in using NiMh batteries.
With this PHEV experiment, Toyota is reducing its carbon footprint acquired at the making of the car, known for being highly pollutive, partly for transporting the parts from one country to another, and partly from extracting the Nickel from Canada, destroying the local forests.