SAN DIEGO, June 29, 2010 - The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today received three Prius plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV) from Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., kicking off a 12-month worldwide demonstration program to assess the vehicles performance in real-world driving conditions. A total of 600 cars will be deployed globally, including only 150 vehicles to demonstration program partners across the U.S. Participants have an option to extend the demonstration for six additional months.
“The plug-in Prius is an evolutionary step in Toyota’s successful hybrid-electric technology, but it is a revolutionary jump forward within the automotive industry,” said Mike Ferry, CCSE’s transportation programs manager. “We are honored to partner with Toyota on this exciting demonstration program that is leading us toward a future of cleaner vehicles.”
“San Diego is a national focal point for electric car deployment and SDG&E is committed to getting our electric infrastructure ready to serve the needs of customers who choose to invest in clean, efficient transportation like the Prius plug-in hybrid,” said James P. Avery, senior vice president, Power Supply for SDG&E. “This demonstration project will help us prepare the electric grid for that day in the very near future when these vehicles are commonplace on our roadways and freeways. For instance, plans are under way to deploy more than 1,500 commercial and public electric vehicle chargers throughout San Diego.”
During the demonstration period, the cars will be in daily use as both personal and work vehicles by CCSE and SDG&E staff members.
The Prius PHV is based on the third-generation Prius. The vehicle combines high-output lithium-ion batteries with Hybrid Synergy Drive® technology to offer an expanded, fully electric driving mode. The Prius PHV can be recharged in approximately three hours from a standard 110V electrical outlet or one and a half hours with a 220V charger.
As it becomes available, data from the U.S. demonstration programs will be posted online at: www.toyota.com/esq. This website will reflect the operational performance of the vehicles and report aspects such as fuel economy, miles driven and charging times. This data will be used to support the development of the Prius PHV Hybrid that is slated for U.S. introduction in 2012.
When the Prius PHV arrives at Toyota dealerships in 2012, the vehicles will qualify for the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project that CCSE administers statewide, which provides consumer rebates up to $5,000 for zero-emission and electric drive vehicles, according to Ferry.
Just like a standard 2010 Toyota Prius, the Prius PHV combines a 98-horsepower, 1.8-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor that produces the equivalent of 80 hp. The difference is that the PHV can operate in electric-only mode, powering itself on batteries alone for approximately 13 miles (20 km) up to speeds of 62 mph (100 km/h).
Toyota is seeking to accomplish several goals with its nationwide Prius PHV demonstration program, including confirming the overall performance of its first-generation lithium-ion drive battery, gauging public interest in the new technology and assessing overall market preparedness for plug-in hybrids.
"It is imperative that consumers fully understand both the potential and the challenges involved in the electrification of the automobile," said John Hanson, Toyota’s national manager of environmental, safety and quality communications. "Through this demonstration program consumers will be informed on how these new mobility alternatives will fit with their transportation needs, their lifestyles and their budget."
SDG&E and CCSE are working with Juice Technologies of Columbus, Ohio, to evaluate advanced smart charging capabilities for plug-in electric vehicles that will enable safe and efficient integration of vehicle charging with the electricity grid. Concurrently, CCSE is leading a joint study with partners SDG&E and AeroVironment Inc. with funding from the University of California, Davis, to determine how used electric vehicle batteries can be given a second life in a variety of smart grid energy storage applications.
SDG&E and CCSE are working with ECOtality and local agencies and governments to determine the best locations for electric vehicle charging stations. The utility is in the process of evaluating the demand and energy impacts of electric vehicles on the distribution system, smart grid interconnection requirements and “time of use” electric vehicle charging rates.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.
The California Center for Sustainable Energy is an independent nonprofit dedicated to fostering public policy and programs to facilitate the adoption of clean, reliable, sustainable and efficient energy technologies and practices. For more information on CCSE programs, rebates and services, visit www.energycenter.org or call 1-866-SDENERGY.