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Plug-in Prius under test in Britain

Road trials of the plug-in hybrid are under way

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EDF Energy and Toyota have teamed up to road trial the first Plug-in Hybrid. Trials have started and will continue for more than a year. The UK car is identical to the five cars already under test in France. Early data from the French study has revealed that the plug-in Hybrids are around 60% more efficient than the conventional Prius Hybrids on trips up to 15.5 miles.

EDF has installed forty charging points so far and more are due in the coming months. The trial is not just focusing on the potential fuel savings but will take into account the balance between usage, charging times and battery sizes. Unlike the standard Prius it defaults to run on electricity most of the time the petrol back up only kicking in on 80% throttle or when driving over 60mph. A new Toyota Prius is due next year. It will be a conventional hybrid vehicle initially, but a plug-in option is expected to follow late by 2010.