Central Vermont Public Service has been chosen to test a Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid vehicle as part of a demonstration program, which is being implemented around the world. CVPS is the only Vermont participant.
The program, which has strategically placed Prius plug-in hybrid vehicles worldwide-including more than 160 in the United States-is intended to gather customer feedback on the vehicles' performance and educate the general public about plug-in hybrid technology. The plug-in Prius is not yet available for purchase.
"Using the new Prius will produce feedback for Toyota, but it will also help us become familiar with some of the new vehicle options that are out there," said CVPS Transportation Manager Dan Mackey. "It is a great complement to our ongoing efforts to study the next wave of vehicle options and how our electric grid can provide customers with clean, affordable energy for transportation."
Toyota has placed the vehicles in multiple geographic regions throughout the U.S. and with a range of organizations, including San Diego Gas and Electric, Georgetown University, New York City Department of Transportation and Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity program.
"The main goal of the program is to gather significant real-world customer feedback, including how and when they charge the vehicle, and how the vehicle performs under different conditions," said Scott Heyer, corporate manager, fl eet, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
The demonstration program began in early 2010 and to date Prius Plug-in Hybrids have been tested in northern and southern California; Washington, D.C.; New York; Portland, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; and now Vermont.
The plug-in hybrid Prius is a mid-size vehicle that seats five people, has an electric vehicle range of 13 miles and operates in electric vehicle mode at speeds up to 60 mph. It requires three hours of charging on a standard 110-volt outlet or 1.5 hours on a 220 volt outlet, and returns to full-hybrid mode when all electricity is depleted.
CVPS spokesman Steve Costello said the study is a natural fit with the company's efforts to examine plug-in vehicles through CVPS plug 'n go(tm). "We have been at the forefront of studying these technologies for years, and expect to play a significant role in helping our customers understand the benefits vehicles like the plug-in Prius can provide," Costello said. "Participating in the study will give us another important data point as we continue to examine their potential."
According to recent announcements, both General Motors, Ford and Nissan will introduce new all-electric vehicles that,many experts predict, will leapfrog current hybrid technology in the coming year.