Toyota will use a three-year trial into the usage of plug-in vehicles to help determine the number of batteries to fit to its lithium ion battery Prius before it goes on sale in 2012.
The trial, which starts at the end of the year, is part of an ongoing collaboration with energy supplier EDF and will be conducted throughout the French city of Strasbourg.
It is hoped the partnership will help evaluate the requirements needed for a wider charging infrastructure and help prepare the public for its future use.
The pilot scheme will use a plug-in version of the next generation Prius equipped with lithium ion batteries instead of nickel cells. The deal involves leasing 100 lithium ion battery hybrids to local companies to examine their usage patterns, which will then help when analysing the required range and battery capacity for the production car.
EDF and Toyota have already been conducting plug-in hybrid trials for a number of months in the UK, with EDF employees running a Toyota PHV to help test a new charging and invoicing system incorporated into the car.
The latest trials will take that technology, which has also been under test in France since 2007, to a wider audience. EDF intends to set up several hundred charging points at users’ homes, work places and public parking spaces to help familiarise people with the technology.
Funding for the project in Strasbourg has come from the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, which wants to promote low-emission vehicles.
Toyota and EDF will also trial similar schemes in Japan and the United States towards the end of the year.