Toyota introduces Prius Plug-in Hybrid to Ireland

Electric car launch Padraig McManus, Chief Executive, ESB sitting in Toyota Prius, Minister Eamon Ryan, TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources sitting in another Toyota Prius, and David Shannon, Managing Director, Toyota Ireland leaning on an ESB ecars charge point.
ESB Chief Executive Padraig McManus, Minister Eamon Ryan and David Shannahan Managing Director Toyota Ireland at the MOU signing Download hi-res image

KEY POINTS

  • Toyota signs MOU with the Irish Government and ESB to conduct field trials and demonstration programme in Ireland with Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV).
  • Plug-in hybrid technology combines the convenience of hybrid mode with the environmental benefits of electric mode.
  • Extended 20km driving range in EV (electric vehicle) mode with zero CO2, NOx and particulate emissions.
  • 2.6L/100km (108.6mpg) combined cycle fuel consumption and 59g/km CO2 emissions.
  • First use of lithium-ion batteries in a full hybrid Toyota vehicle.
  • Ireland involved in providing real world intelligence on actual user behavior and attitudes to vehicle performance and energy recharging.

Toyota Ireland has today (Tuesday, November 2nd 2010), introduced a new Plug-in Prius Hybrid car to Ireland, as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Irish Government aimed at analysing real world attitudes to PHEV. Toyota is running this demonstration programme across Europe for the coming 18 months in advance of its full launch to the market in 2012. Initially, as part of this demonstration programme, there will be three vehicles based in Ireland which will be placed with a number of leading Irish and multinational companies in order to test the vehicles under variable, everyday driving conditions. Toyota has also signed an MOU with ESB as part of its programme, which will see the sharing of information between both organisations regarding the recharging infrastructure. This will support the planning and implementation of ESB's nationwide charging infrastructure as well as providing valuable information on customer usage patterns and general attitudes to electric motoring.

Speaking at the introduction of the vehicles David Shannon, Managing Director, Toyota Ireland said:

"Although the reduction of CO2 emissions didn't become a recognised mainstream global issue until the 1990's, Toyota has been researching and developing mobility solutions that are kinder to the environment for more than 40 years in its quest to create the ultimate eco car. Although Toyota positions Hybrid Synergy Drive as its core technology for the future, we believe it's important to follow more than one path in the development of more environmentally efficient mobility.

"Plug-in Hybrid is one such path and in effect this brings all of the benefits of EV motoring, while the presence of the petrol engine in the hybrid powertrain ensures that the Prius Plug-in is equally able to tackle longer journeys without long periods of recharging or range anxiety.

"The real-world experiences which will be derived from the companies and drivers involved in this programme will provide Toyota with valuable insights into driver attitudes and usage patterns to help shape strategies for the wider introduction of plug-in hybrids and recharging technologies.

"We are delighted to be signing an MOU with the Irish Government and in that regard I would like to publicly thank Minister Ryan and his officials, together with Padraig McManus and his team in ESB, for their encouragement and co-operation with this programme as well as all of the companies taking part in the field trials of PHEV."

Minister Eamon Ryan, TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources commented:

"I am pleased that the Irish Government can add Toyota, the largest car maker in the world who are developing a wide range of sustainable technologies for the future, including PHEV, to our growing list of car manufacturers who see Ireland as a world leader in electric vehicles.

"Today we sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Toyota which will see them deploy Prius Plug-In Hybrids to Ireland in advance of their global launch.

"Ireland has a range of state supports on offer for customers who wish to make the change to the electric car. Grants of up to €2,500 on plug-in hybrids will be in place next year and will also qualify for a €2,500 rebate on VRT. Coupled with ESB's roll out of the charging infrastructure nationwide we are helping people make the move to sustainable forms of transport."

Padraig McManus, Chief Executive, ESB also commented:

"Ireland is an important market for ecars as we are one of the first countries in the world to develop a nationwide charging infrastructure and Toyota's decision to test the Prius Plug-in here is an endorsement of this. We are delighted to partner with Toyota which is developing a wide range of sustainable technologies for the future, including Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles. The ecars trial will build on ESB's existing knowledge of ecar charging technology and of user behaviour, in addition to further promoting the ecar industry across Ireland."

The Vehicles

There will be three Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicles used for the programme. These are the same size and design as the current third generation full hybrid Prius, but with a significant difference -- in place of the nickel-metal hydride, high-performance battery in the car's Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery is used.

This type of battery has the advantage of producing more power from less volume and weight, and it can be recharged through connection to a standard domestic or workplace electricity supply. As a result, the Prius Plug-in is able to run up to 20km further on its electric power alone (in EV mode), according to battery charge and road conditions, and at higher speeds - up to a maximum 100km/h.

This gives the Prius Plug-in the ability to cover the majority of short urban commuter journeys with zero petrol consumption and zero tailpipe emissions. Overall combined cycle fuel consumption and CO2 output are also significantly improved at 2.6L/100km (108.6mpg) and 59g/km.

Organizations Involved with the Demonstration Programme

In addition to the ESB, Toyota Ireland will work with a further eight companies and organisations that are committed to the ongoing promotion of energy conservation and a greener environment as part of their business ethos. These include UCD, RTE, Vodafone, HP, An Post, Bank of Ireland, Google and Coca-Cola.