Toyota and EDF Energy have begun fleet testing of the plug-in Prius in the UK.
The vehicles, subtly festooned with flower decals, are part of Toyota’s wider development of plug-in technology as it tries to best GM and its 2010 Chevrolet Volt. Toyota conducted a similar test of the vehicles in France last year, and recently said it will have the plug-in Prius in the hands of U.S. fleet customers by 2009.; The plug-in currently uses 60 percent less fuel than a conventional Prius during short trips (less than 15.5 miles). Toyota will start putting lithium-ion batteries similar to those of the Volt in its European fleet cars next year.
EDF Energy, for its part, hopes to learn how well its infrastructure will support electric vehicles. It has installed forty charging posts across the UK and plans to add more in the next few months. The plug-in vehicles use a new system that keeps track of how much electricity it has used, providing some insight into how EDF Energy and other utilities will charge customers once the plug-in hybrids become available to consumers. The testing began today and will continue throughout the year.