First anniversary of the Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle demonstration launch in Strasbourg: highly positive user feedback

Today, Toyota, French energy provider EDF and the City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg announced encouraging initial results one year after the start of the joint project. Launched on April 27, 2010 in Strasbourg, this large-scale demonstration involves Toyota's Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) as well as a dedicated charging infrastructure for use by public and private partners in and around Strasbourg.

Initial results gathered in Strasbourg confirm that Toyota's PHV technology is a valid solution for increasing electricity usage for personal automotive transport.

  • The PHVs involved in the project were intensively used in an urban environment and for longer journeys. PHV users averaged a yearly mileage of 19,000 km, which is above the 13,000 km average for French drivers
  • PHV performances are completely in-line with customer expectations. Fuel savings of 40% were achieved when compared to an equivalent diesel powered car
  • The 20 km, zero emission, fully electric range of the PHV is enough to cover a significant share of the users' daily commutes. Average trip duration was 13.9 km.
  • PHV environmental performance may vary depending on its utilisation (recharging frequency, driving style, and temperatures).
  • PHV offers real driving pleasure combined with great ease of use while encouraging drivers to naturally adopt a more environmentally conscious driving style.

With regards to the charging infrastructure, users are gradually getting accustomed to charging their vehicles, despite being an entirely new habit, which still appears as constraining for a few users. On average, charging occurred on a daily basis, 96% at private parking charging points, mainly at the workplace. Recharging usually takes place during peak hours, at 08:00 when the users reach their working place or 19:00 when back at home.

There are several key learning points for the Strasbourg Urban Community. Despite offering free electricity and convenient city parking spots, the usage of the 27 public road and public parking lot charging points was low. User surveys underline the need for a clear communication on the locations of charging points and their operation status.

After this intermediately stage, Toyota, French energy provider EDF, and the City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg have two more years to improve the system and gather even more feedback from users. Investigations will be undertaken to find solutions to encourage off-peak charging time, to test early booking of charging points, and to improve the communication on the locations of public charging points.

Speaking about the anniversary, Cédric Lewandowski, EDF Director for the Public Sector, said: "EDF RandD has been heavily involved in this experiment and after this first year our vision and strategy for the development of a charging infrastructure is confirmed, but the project also enables us to identify good ways to improve our customer solutions. This is why this experiment is extremely positive and essential for EDF in the development of electric mobility."

"Toyota wishes to warmly thank users of PHVs in Strasbourg for their active participation in this important project," said Koei Saga, Managing Office for Toyota Motor Corporation. "Plug-in Hybrid Avec le soutien de l'ADEME technology is a key driver on our road towards sustainable mobility. This experiment in real-world conditions is essential not only to validate the performance of PHV technology but also its adoption by daily users, and to prepare for the commercial launch of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid in 2012. We are delighted to see such a high customer satisfaction level already at this stage."

Roland Ries, Senator and Mayor of Strasbourg, said: "This experiment confirms the pioneering role of Strasbourg in the search for innovative mobility solutions. These first results are essential to better focus our decisions in the domain of electric mobility, more specifically, regarding the deployment strategy of an adequate recharging infrastructure."

During the past year, 30 partners from various public institutions and private companies have been testing 70 PHV vehicles in Strasbourg. PHVs can be recharged using one of 145 charging points installed by EDF at the private parking of partner companies (75), at users' homes (43), and in public parking lots (19). The City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg have ensured the installation of 8 charging points along public roads. ARS, Toyota dealer in Strasbourg is in charge of vehicle maintenance and data collection.

The results published follow a scientific approach based on technical data collection (from information remotely transmitted by the charging points or during scheduled maintenance operations at the dealer). Toyota and EDF teams have worked together to agree on the assessment results for the first year of the experiment.

This PHV program is part of Toyota's global project involving 600 Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles, also deployed in Japan, the United States, Canada and Australia. The main objective for Toyota is to further investigate the technology and performance of PHVs. EDF's objective is to evaluate different operational options for charging infrastructures. The demonstration will allow feedback from consumers on the acceptance of this new driving concept in preparation for broader commercialisation in the future.