To cut the emissions and costs, and also to encourage people to buy more hybrid vehicles, the City of Paris is going to use Toyota Prius and other PHVs for official duties. They are very cautious making this move though, as they will testing three cars for the next three years before approving it!
Three Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHV) will be used by various departments of the City Office to validate the relevance and performance of this technology among the sustainable mobility solutions used in the French capital. This is part of a larger program to expand use of PHV technology and its charging infrastructure, which already includes more than 100 PHVs in France, and a dedicated charging infrastructure.
Also for Toyota this is a part of a global project involving 600 Prius Plug-in Hybrids, in preparation for its upcoming mass-market introduction, also deployed in Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia and in 17 other European countries. In France this project is supported financially by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency ADEME. They have started a program in 2008 to test future technologies allowing the reduction of greenhouse gases, and this is a big step in reaching that goal.
A Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle uses Toyota’s full hybrid technology, with the added benefit that its battery can be recharged using a standard electrical plug. Toyota’s PHV is “the best of both worlds”: for short distances, it can be driven as an electric vehicle, resulting in a silent, zero CO2 emissions drive. For longer distances, the PHV works as a conventional hybrid vehicle, providing all the benefits of Toyota’s full hybrid technology, including low emissions and fuel consumption, and excellent driving performance. Toyota expects the PHV to bring unsurpassed fuel efficiency and therefore record low emissions – as compared to any other mass-market vehicle on roads today. Based on the third generation Prius, the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid is equipped with a lithium-ion battery and emits only 59g CO2 per km in the New European Driving Cycle (1).
During a handover ceremony held on 18 March at the Paris City Hall, Michel Gardel, Toyota Motor Europe Vice-President for External and Environmental Affairs said: “The Plug-in Hybrid technology is an essential part of strategy towards sustainable mobility. Based on Toyota’s full hybrid technology, the PHV represents the most pragmatic solution to increase the use of electric energy in personal transport today.”
While handing over the keys of the three PHVs, Daniele Schillaci, President of Toyota France, insisted on the importance of this demonstration programme in real-life conditions: “Before introducing the PHV on the market, we want to thoroughly study the perceptions of users, and the possible use within private and public institutions. Therefore, we are extremely pleased with this new partnership with the Paris City Office. We expect to get valuable insights for the future development of our PHV technology.”
Igor Czerny, EDF Director for Electric Transport and Vehicles, said: “We intend to leverage EDF’s innovation for the development of the electric vehicle and of sustainable low-carbon mobility. Together with Toyota, EDF is pleased to integrate the City of Paris in this project which is part of the world’s largest demonstration of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles and their dedicated charging infrastructure.”