In order to determine the number of lithium ion batteries it can fit into the Prius which it plans to sell in 2012, Toyota is launching into a three-year trial of plug-ins. The trial will begin at the end of 2009 in Strasbourg, France in partnership with energy provider EDF.
Collaboration is aimed at evaluating the requirements required for a broader charging infrastructure in preparation for its future public use.
The lead venture will utilize plug-in variant of the next generation Prius coming with lithium ion batteries instead of nickel cells.
The contract includes the lease of 100 lithium ion battery hybrids to local firms to evaluate patterns of usage, which will aid in the analysis of the required range and battery capacity for the production model.
Toyota and EDF have been conducting tests for plug-in hybrids for a number of months already in the UK with EDF employees running a Toyota PHV to help test a new charging and invoicing system integrated into the hybrid. The current trial is taking the technology which has been testing since 2007 in France to a much broader audience.
The plan of EDF is to put up several hundred charging outlets at owners homes, work places and public parking spots to familiarize people with the technology.
The French Environment and Energy Management Agency will be funding the project in Strasbourg in its desire to promote low-emission cars. The same tests will be done toward the end of this year in both Japan and the US.