Zipcar officially announced today the introduction of eight Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHVs) into its network. According to Zipcar a.k.a. world's leading car sharing service, the new cars will help it test and evaluate the plug-in hybrid technology but will also help it to see how electric vehicles (EVs) can fit into a large-scale car-sharing model.
For those interested, you must know that the cars will be available to Zipcar members in Boston/Cambridge, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.
Moreover, it appears that the new vehicles are part of Zipcar members in Boston/Cambridge, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon in order to demonstrate that plug-in hybrid technology can be introduced successfully on the streets. For those who don’t know, the Toyota Prius PHVs will be officially available to the public in 2012.
Zipcar Chairman and CEO Scott Griffith revealed that since the company operates one of the world’s largest connected vehicle networks, it remains to be committed to taking a deliberate and careful approach when it comes to electric vehicles.
Since Toyota has long been known for its commitment when it comes to technologies for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, Griffith continued, they were the perfect partner for this undertaking. The company remains to be dedicated to supporting innovative technologies not just in a strategic way but also in a manner that can meet the standards when it comes to multi-country, multi-city, and large scale car sharing, he added.
The company continues to be the best test bed especially in getting the needed early consumer acceptance for electric vehicles. CEO Griffith further added that with this project, the companies will be able to get the needed direct feedback from the thousands of consumers located in three cities and thus aid in evaluating how electric vehicles can suitable for large-scale car sharing model.
The lithium-ion batteries that power the Prius PHV can be recharged by simply using a 110-volt power outlet, though it would take around three hours to fully charge it. Running purely on electricity, it can go up to 62 mph or as far as 13 miles.
After that it will revert and run as a standard Prius hybrid, averaging around 50 miles for each gallon. The Prius PHV therefore is the best vehicle for car sharing as it can go the needed distance regardless of the charge it was picked up.
Since of the drives done by Zipcar members do not reach 13 miles, almost all of the trips are emission-free. When driving the Prius PHV, Zipcar members are ensured of enough electric charge while on short trips but they are assured as well to have a back-up in case longer travel is needed or will have to be used in between charges.
Meanwhile, national manager, advanced technology vehicles, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Mary Nickerson, shared that the goal of the PHV demonstration program is to get customer feedback on the plug-in hybrid technology as well as real-world driving data.
Toyota is happy to be partnering with Zipcar in order to examine further how this particular technology can have a larger environmental impact by being part of the car sharing model, Nickerson continued.
With the program, the company will be able to understand better how plug-in hybrid technology will benefit future customers, assess the performance of vehicles with plug-in hybrid technology under various driving conditions, and help the company inform and educate the public on this technology.
Zipcar has long been a pioneer in the use of advanced vehicle technologies. It is also the first car sharing company U.S. to include EVs in its fleet especially with the introduction of the Toyota RAV4 EVs in 2002 at Boston.
Zipcar was also the first company to offer hybrid vehicles after hybrid vehicles were first launched back in 2003 in Seattle. At present, Zipcar provides the plug-in hybrids for the San Francisco market and pure EV models for the London market. The company currently offers more than 1,000 units of hybrid vehicles around the world, which is around 15% to 20% of its whole fleet.