Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Toyota Begins Testing Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles in UK

Tokyo — TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announces that together with EDF Energy, the British subsidiary of the French energy company EDF, it began testing TMC-produced plug-in hybrid vehicles on public roads in the United Kingdom on September 10.

To officially kick off the tests, TMC and EDF held a joint press conference in Hyde Park, London, on the same day, which was attended by, among others, UK Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform John Hutton, other members of the UK Parliament, London municipal government officials and the Japanese Ambassador to the United Kingdom Shin Ebihara. EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz, TMC Managing Officer Koei Saga, Toyota Motor Europe Senior Vice President Graham Smith and others were also present.

At the press conference, TMC's Saga, who is in charge of hybrid system development, said, "We are very excited to expand our PHV road testing program to the UK in collaboration with EDF Energy. Today's announcement represents a step-change towards acceptance of electricity in combination with hybrid technology as a viable and sustainable transport solution."

The UK road tests, like those conducted with EDF in France starting in autumn 2007, involve setting up necessary infrastructure, evaluating vehicle performance and ease-of-use, and surveying participating vehicle users. Plans call for the test period to continue for more than one year.

The UK is the fifth country in which TMC has conducted tests of plug-in hybrid vehicles on public roads, following tests that began in 2007 in Japan, the United States, France and Belgium.

While the current tests involve use of vehicles equipped with nickel-metal hydride batteries, TMC is also accelerating development of plug-in hybrid vehicles equipped with lithium-ion batteries. Sales of the latter to fleet customers in Japan, the United States and Europe are planned to begin—ahead of the original schedule—by the end of 2009.

TMC intends to continue meeting the challenge of achieving sustainable mobility that aims to create harmony among cars, people and the environment, and, to this end, positions its hybrid technology, including its plug-in hybrid vehicles, at the core of its environmental technologies.

No comments: