New step towards sustainable mobility: launch of the Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle demonstration in Strasbourg

Toyota, French energy provider EDF, and the City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg today launch a large-scale Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle demonstration in Strasbourg. The project involves about 100 Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHVs) as well as a dedicated charging infrastructure for the use of public and private partners in Strasbourg and its region. It has received support via the Research Fund managed by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency ADEME.

This project is part of a global Toyota project involving 600 Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles that will also be deployed in Japan, the US, Canada and Australia. Toyota's main objective is to further investigate the technology and performance of PHVs. In the context of the EDF-Toyota partnership, European road trials of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles started in France in the autumn of 2007 and were expanded to the UK in 2008.EDF's objective is to evaluate different operational options for the charging infrastructure. The demonstration will allow receiving feedback on the consumers' acceptance of this new driving concept, in preparation for broad commercialisation in the future.

For this demonstration, EDF, with the operational support of its subsidiary Electricité de Strasbourg (ES), will ensure, within the context of a technical and financial partnership with all stakeholders, the set-up of more than 150 charging points at users' homes, at the private parking of partner companies, in public parking lots and on public roads. Some vehicles use an innovative charging system developed by EDF, able to control the communication between the plug and the vehicle, while ensuring safe charging. The objective is to facilitate the identification of the vehicle and invoicing of the consumed energy. In addition, German energy provider EnBW (Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, EDF Group), will extend the programme to Baden-Württemberg, Germany, by demonstrating ten PHVs and their dedicated charging infrastructure.

As partner of the demonstration project, the City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg will lease five PHVs. They have ensured the set-up of public charging points and charging points along public roads and provide a subsidy to the local car sharing company to lease three PHVs. The remaining vehicles will be leased to various public institutions and private companies.

For ADEME, this project is part of its "research demonstrators" programme, whose purpose is to test future technologies allowing the reduction of greenhouse gases. The automotive industry faces major challenges, requiring alternatives to conventional internal combustion engines. This programme is one of eleven projects selected in a call for interest in the Demonstrators Fund on low-emission vehicles launched by ADEME in 2008. This experiment in real-world conditions is essential to validate not only the feasibility of the involved technologies but also their adoption by daily users, and to prepare tomorrow's world.

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).

"Plug-in Hybrid technology is a key driver on our road towards sustainable mobility", Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Executive Vice-President Takeshi Uchiyamada said at a press conference today. "Based on Toyota's full hybrid powertrain, PHV is the most practical way of increasing the use of electricity for personal transport today. We now need to investigate the market acceptance of this new technology, so on the occasion of this launch today in Strasbourg, we are delighted to kick-off our Pan-European limited lease programme. This will provide 200 vehicles to selected public and private customers in 18 European countries.

"Henri Proglio, Chairman and CEO of EDF explained: "We intend to use EDF innovation for the development of electric vehicles and for sustainable mobility which will be less polluting. For EDF, the demonstration that we launch today with Toyota, with the City of Strasbourg, with ADEME and with the partners and users is a three-fold world premier. EDF is proud to engage in a great industrial adventure involving the expertise of a manufacturer, an energy provider and public bodies.

"Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg and Vice President of the Urban Community, in charge of transport said: "Speaking on behalf of the City and the Urban Community, I am pleased to be able to host this unique experiment that will be taking place over the next 3 years. The Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle project, sponsored jointly by Toyota and EDF, shows how important it is nowadays to combine technological breakthroughs and innovative initiatives with sustainable development. This is not a first for Strasbourg. Its attractive modern tram system and its bicycle-friendly policy adopted more than 20 years ago have already earned it a reputation as a pioneer. What we wish to see now is that Strasbourg keeps going in the same direction, taking part in other innovative actions like this one in the field of sustainable transport. Strasbourg has a duty to maintain the special position it holds in this field, both in France and in Europe".