Unique three-year demonstration shows effectiveness of plug-in hybrid with 46% fuel savings

12.04.2013: Today, Toyota, French energy provider EDF, the City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg officially concluded the three-year

Today, Toyota, French energy provider EDF, the City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg officially concluded the three-year Plug-in Hybrid demonstration launched in Strasbourg on April 27, 2010.

The partners revealed the final conclusions collected from this large-scale demonstration, designed to gather real-world vehicle use feedback on Toyota’s plug-in hybrid technology while encouraging the development of a dedicated public access charging infrastructure.

Evidence of the effectiveness of plug-in hybrid technology based on the three-year demonstration covering over 4 million kilometres includes:

    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)

Strasbourg, France -  Final conclusions

On average, fuel consumption was reduced by 46% when compared to gasoline vehicles of similar size. This considerable reduction was obtained with an average charging frequency of 1.1 times a day.

In fact, the project conclusively proves that users that recharge more often benefit from significantly higher reduction in fuel consumption than users who recharged less.

Take the example of a user that recharges 1.6 times a day. While driving 40% in hybrid mode and 60% in electric mode, the user obtains levels of approximately 70% of reduction in fuel consumption compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle of similar size. This represents a saving of EUR 7.1/100 km (1) in running costs or a saving of EUR 1,400 a year, assuming that the car drives around 20,000 km a year.

On top of reduced fuel consumption for the user, the environment benefits from a larger share of zero emission pure electric driving. Up to 61% of CO2 emissions can be reduced compared to conventional gasoline cars of similar size.

Michel Gardel, Vice-President of Communications, External and Environment Affairs at Toyota Motor Europe, said: “Thanks to the citizens of Strasbourg who participated in the project, Toyota was able to gather such valuable data which we will use to further promote plug-in hybrid technology.

Toyota sees plug-in hybrid technology as the best environmental mobility solution currently available and an important step in the development of the ultimate zero emissions car. We want to make the technology even more accessible for widespread adoption.”

Customers’ testimonies

    Participants got to enjoy a more relaxing driving experience over time. M. Schoenhentz: “When you’re in the city and driving in pure electric mode, the level of quietness is amazing. It is a very pleasant experience in an urban environment.”

    In addition to the car’s refinement, users quickly adapted to the regular habit of recharging daily. M. Duval: “As soon as I can and when I see it is necessary, I plug it in systematically.”

    Thanks to this experience some users are convinced of the maturity of the innovative plug-in hybrid technology. M. Dietrich: “At start, I was slightly worried with the high technological content of the vehicle and the experimental factor. We were curious to see how this would turn out… Well, we did not have any concerns whatsoever!” 

    M. Dieudonné is an enthusiast of the project and technology, to the extent that he is even considering buying a plug-in hybrid vehicle. “We want to take the project a step further. At first we saw this as a trial, but now this experience has given us a general direction for the renewal of our fleet. We are currently considering adding plug-ins to our fleet. I am even thinking of buying a plug-in hybrid vehicle for my family.”

Toyota Plug-in Hybrid technology Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles offer the best of both worlds, combining the benefits of electric and full hybrid vehicles. Toyota’s Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle adopts the same full hybrid system architecture as the regular Prius, with the additional benefit of a larger battery that can be plugged in and recharged from an external (household) power source.

The vehicle functions quietly and with zero emissions in electric mode (EV) over short to medium distances. For longer trips, the vehicle functions in hybrid mode (HV) using a combination of both the vehicle’s gasoline and electric engines with excellent driving performances and a reduced ecological footprint. The low cost of ownership of the Prius Plug-in, closely linked with the hybrid technology, is also a strong customer benefit.

2012 – Commercialisation of plug-in hybrid technology

Toyota launched the Prius Plug-in in Japan at the beginning of 2012, followed by introductions in North America and Europe. To date, around 31,100 plug-ins have been sold, equivalent to 1.5 times the number of Prius sold in a full year when launched in 2000. For Europe, the year-to-date figure amounts to 4,417 units, with sales starting only end of summer 2012.

Amongst others, the feedback from the demonstration launch in Strasbourg has been taken into consideration when further developing the car for commercial launch: 

    The range for electric autonomous driving has been extended with 25% to reach 25 km. This distance not only represents the best packaging in terms of range, performance, balance between weight and price of the car, but it also meets the needs of as much as 80% of the trips that are made in Europe.

    The modality of pure EV driving has even been optimised by offering a button to switch between EV and HV mode, allowing users to use a pure electric driving mode in an urban environment. The lack of range anxiety is one of the tributes of plug-ins often heard by customers, as the HV mode automatically kicks in when the battery is depleted.

    The use of the charging cable has been facilitated mainly by reducing its weight with 26%.

    Lastly, the trunk capacity has been increased by 10% to reach the volume of the 3rd generation Toyota Prius (443 litres instead of 403 litres).


Main findings regarding the charging infrastructure

EDF now benefits of key advantages in the "world of electric mobility”: it is a global electric power provider, its knowledge of the electric grid and indisputable skills in optimising an entire charging infrastructure and minimising peaks in power demand.

EDF, with the support of its subsidiary Electricité de Strasbourg (ES group), has been able to include highly innovative features into the charging infrastructure put in place for the project. One of these features automatically shifts vehicle charging time to off-peak period, benefiting from reduced power costs. In addition, an internet based monitoring service enabled users to verify that the average cost of a recharge did not exceed EUR 0.30.

To make the system even more customer friendly, EDF and its subsidiary, Sodetrel, developed a smartphone application to geolocate charging points and check their availability.

As for the recharging process, we received feedback that users will appreciate that a permanent cable is connected to charging points at home or at work. An auxiliary cable is also required for occasional use at public charging points.

Michel Couture, Director, Electric Mobility, EDF, welcomes this rewarding collaboration and the many lessons learned over the three-year demonstration program: "The data collected have enabled EDF to better define its offer in mobility services in line with the customers’ expectations."

City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg

This three-year demonstration, in partnership with Toyota and EDF, has enabled the Urban Community of Strasbourg to receive necessary feedback to develop its public charging infrastructure. Thanks to this experiment, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have gradually been accepted in the urban landscape.

The installation of public charging points has lifted the potential range anxiety of users, and is necessary to complement private charging points. The project also creates a better understanding of the relationship between vehicle charging and the load on the electric power grid.

Today, the Urban Community of Strasbourg is moving forward to engage in the cross border programme CROME (Cross Border Mobility for Electric Vehicle). New outlets meeting European standards for electric vehicles have been installed, some allowing full charge of an electric vehicle within two hours. Both users of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will benefit from these new charging points.

"The expansion of the network must be an incentive, the challenge now lays in building a sufficiently dense grid and in vehicle charging speed, so that motorists can opt for the best mode of transportation and the most environmentally friendly vehicle," says Alain Fontanel, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg and Vice-President of Finances in charge of electric mobility at the Urban Community of Strasbourg.

(1) Calculations based on gasoline price of EUR 1.64/L and electricity price of EUR 0.12/kWh

- Alastair Moffit -

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/three-year-demonstration-show-plug-in-hybrid-fuel-savings-edf-toyota---109693.html

12.04.2013 / MaP

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