Toyota will lease 20 plug-in Prius in the UK from next month, as part of its plans to bring the car to market within the next three years.
Five public and private businesses in London will run a fleet of plug-in Priuses until July 2013 as Toyota aims to further understand and develop plug-in hybrid technology, something it sees as the best compromise in reducing CO2 emissions and maintaining the range of today's cars.
The plug-in Prius has combined fuel economy of 108.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 59g/km. It uses lithium ion batteries (unlike the standard Prius's nickel-metal hydride batteries) to offer an EV range of 12.5 miles at speeds of up to 62mph. A recharge takes around two hours.
Once this EV charge runs out, the car's petrol engine takes over, as in the standard Prius, to offer a range equal to that of a conventional combustion-engine car.
"The trials will allow us to understand consumer use and acceptance of plug-in hybrids and evaluate the vehicle's technology and the current infrastructure," said Toyota GB managing director Miguel Fonseca.
The trials are being conducted in conjunction with EDF Energy. As a result, 30 charging points will installed in the capital. EDF is also pushing to ensure charging connections for electric cars become standard to reduce costs.