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Toyota Presents Final Conclusions From 3-Year Prius Plug-In Hybrid Trial

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 12

Toyota Prius PHV in Strasbourg

Toyota Prius PHV in Strasbourg

Over in France, a real-world trial of a plug-in vehicle has been ongoing for nearly three years now.  In fact, it’s so lengthy a trial we completely forget it was still being conducted.

Moral of the Story: Charge it Often

Moral of the Story: Charge it Often

Thanks goes to Toyota for reminded us that some 70 plug-in vehicles have been on the road since April 27, 2010.

Late last week, Toyota, along with French energy provider EDF and the City of Strasbourg, concluded the three-year Prius Plug-in Hybrid trials.  Immediately upon its conclusion, Toyota revealed final data gathered from the real-world use of plug-ins in France.

All told, the Prius Plug-In Hybrids used in the trial covered 2.5 million miles, so there’s ample evidence to back this list of Toyota’s conclusions:

Average 46% reduction in fuel consumption compared to conventional gasoline vehicle of similar size with an average charging frequency of 1.1 times a day

Conclusive proof of direct correlation between the recharging frequency and fuel consumption: higher charging frequency leads to lower fuel consumption

Study reveals up to 70% reduction in fuel consumption compared to gasoline vehicle of similar size when recharged 1.6 times a day, leading to a substantial estimated saving of EUR 1,400 on an annual basis

Establishment of a dedicated charging infrastructure with 145 charging points (including 9 in parking and 12 on public spaces)

60% of the recharges are carried out at work and 37% at home. Public charging points are welcomed by users for supplementary charging Scheduled charging leads to CO2 emissions reductions of 10% to 15%

Average cost of recharge is around EUR 0.30 (all costs included)

And that sums up Toyota’s findings.  While wish that the automaker would’ve provided more data, we do see two points worth highlighting.  First, Toyota found that 60 percent of charging was done at work.  This counters our belief here that most charging is done at home.

Two, most plug-in hybrids, due to limited electric-only range, benefit from frequent charges as is witnessed by Toyota’s claim that going from 1.1 to 1.6 charges per day reduces fuel consumption by 30 percent.

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12 responses to "Toyota Presents Final Conclusions From 3-Year Prius Plug-In Hybrid Trial"

  1. Rob says:

    “60 percent of charging was done at work” – no surprise here, all electric driving distance for Prius in only 10 miles.

    1. MrEnergyCzar says:

      Actually, on the EPA sticker its only 6 miles EV range….

      MrEnergyCzar

  2. Nelson says:

    “Two, most plug-in hybrids, due to limited electric-only range, benefit from frequent charges as is witnessed by Toyota’s claim that going from 1.1 to 1.6 charges per day reduces fuel consumption by 30 percent.”

    That’s a roundabout way of saying the greater the AER the less fuel you’ll consume.
    Thus the Volts greater AER eliminates the need for frequent same day charges while minimizing fuel consumption.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

  3. David Murray says:

    I think all hybrids should be plug-in capable. It really seems silly to create a hybrid without taking that last step so that it can plug in. a 4 Kwh battery isn’t all that large and doesn’t cost all that much. So I think 4Kw should be the bare minimum battery capacity in all hybrids and give them a freakin’ plug. Otherwise hybrids just can’t live up to their full potential.

    I’d like to see a future where all of Toyota’s hybrids are PHEV and also see them offer at least 8 Khw on future Prius and Camry models on the high-end versions. That would give the buyer the choice of 11 or 22 miles range depending on how much they wanted to pay.

  4. kdawg says:

    I wonder how many drivers didn’t bother plugging them in for 6 miles of EV. Especially if they didn’t have a place to charge at work, since apparently charging at home is not common.

    1. David Murray says:

      You get more than 6 miles of EV. If I understand it correctly, the EPA said 6 miles because during their standard test they were only able to get 6 miles *consecutive* EV range due to the I.C.E. coming on during periods of high speed driving. A typical PiP should get 11 to 14 miles all EV range when driven without the correct boundaries of speed and acceleration.

    2. GeorgeS says:

      Probably not many from the size of the reduction in fuel consumption of 50%

  5. Brian says:

    ::Yawn::

    Let me rephrase the title: “Toyota takes 3 years to learn the obvious”.

    “First, Toyota found that 60 percent of charging was done at work. This counters our belief here that most charging is done at home.”

    Well sure, if plugging in at work is free and plugging in at home costs money, why wouldn’t people plug in at work more? Plus, during the week, workplace charging recoups energy spent on the way to work PLUS going out to lunch. Home charging only recoups energy spent on the drive home.

    “Conclusive proof of direct correlation between the recharging frequency and fuel consumption: higher charging frequency leads to lower fuel consumption”

    C’mon, Toyota! You really needed a 3-year study to know this?

  6. vdiv says:

    OK, let’s pile on Toyota. They deserve it.

    Toyota had the PiP for TWO YEARS before releasing it to market in the US? It really took them that long to make up their minds?

    While Toyota was doing their 3-year study Nissan/Renault have, uhm, 4+ different production models of plugins running around, some world-wide, and some have already been through a facelift and have significant for a mid-cycle modifications.

    It takes a new EV/PHEV driver three weeks to come up with the conclusions that Toyota has through their trial. Some of us (not me, but some more intelligent) came with these conclusions long before the cars were even built as they did the modeling and considered all the angles on paper.

    So what were the real objectives of this trial? To show that Toyota is taking plugins seriously and on the verge of mass-producing them? To tease us with the carrot? To get some approval or preferential treatment by the French government? To appease them in some way?

    Much is expected from the industry “leaders” yet little has been delivered by Toyota. It will result in having new such leaders. One of the key considerations for buying a plugin should really be the commitment that the maker has for the technology and we know where the Toyota, BMW, Chrysler/Fiat and sorry to say even Daimler, Honda and VAG have.

    1. David Murray says:

      TO be fair… I suspect the trial was more to test the technology and the longevity of the battery chemistry more than anything else. I suspect these behavioral studies were not the main objective.

  7. Lou Grinzo says:

    Like Brian, I’m also unimpressed by Toyota’s effort and findings.

    What’s more pertinent, perhaps, is that this Toyota study is yet another symptom of the hyper-cautious approach of some companies toward the electrification of transportation, with Toyota and Honda being the most conspicuous members on that list.

    Toyota and Honda won’t do anything of substance in terms of a full-blown EV (and no, the Fit EV does not qualify, due to its price and very limited availability) until they feel an overwhelming push from the market. It’s possible that the Leaf S trim level will do that, as it seems to have crossed the magic bang/buck threshold for American households looking for a second car. My wife and I recently leased one for exactly that usage, and we love it.

    Once Toyota and Honda see a big enough financial incentive, it will quickly overcome their (incorrect, IMO) perception about the EV market.

  8. mastodonj says:

    I believe that the main reason for the greater charging at work versus home is not to save a euro. More likely, many people park on the street rather than a garage when at home since many homes in France do not have garages, even in upscale areas. Just my 2 cents.

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