Listen up, Prius fans: Toyota has finally released some of the details of the much-awaited U.S. plug-in Prius test program. But unless you work for a major corporation or government office, you probably won’t get to test out the car.
According to Autobloggreen, 150 plug-ins will be released to universities, corporations, city, local governments and car sharing programs at some point in the near future. The lucky organizations include Qualcomm, Silicon Valley
Leadership Group, Southern California Air Quality Management District,
University of California, Berkeley, University of Colorado, and
Portland State University.
But wait! We’ll all get to drive the plug-in Prius soon enough. Toyota tells us:
The PHV demonstration program will allow Toyota to gather real world vehicle-use feedback to better understand customer expectations for plug-in technology. It will confirm, in a wide variety of in-use applications, the overall performance of first-generation lithium-ion battery technology and, hopefully, spur the development of public-access charging station infrastructure. More importantly the program is aimed at market preparedness for plug-in hybrids, which will arrive at Toyota dealerships in 2012, along with an all new battery electric commuter vehicle.
Without some sort of public charging station infrastructure, Toyota will be hard-pressed to sell the Prius EV. That’s why it makes sense to release the vehicle first to organizations that can potentially host charging stations themselves. No word on how much the plug-in Prius will cost, but Toyota claims that it will be “affordable.”