London, England – Toyota has launched a three-year leasing program of its Prius plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in London, England, in partnership with EDF Energy.

The first Prius PHEVs will join the vehicle fleets of five businesses and public organizations. The real-world experiences of drivers and fleet operators will provide both companies, and the U.K. government, with insights into driver attitudes and usage to help design strategies for introducing plug-in hybrids and recharging technologies.

The cars are essentially the same as the current third-generation Prius hybrid, but equipped with a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged with standard 240-volt electricity supply. EDF Energy has identified appropriate plug, socket, wiring and cable specifications, and charging points include a keypad that enables each user and vehicle to be identified when recharging takes place.

The battery allows the Prius PHEV to run up to 20 km solely on electricity at speeds up to 100 km/h. If the battery charge is used up, the vehicle seamlessly switches to conventional hybrid operation.

As part of a worldwide initiative involving 600 Prius PHEVs, 200 of which are in Europe, the London program will support Toyota’s plans to introduce a PHEV to the market within the next few years.

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