LeasePlan has become the first UK leasing company to trial the production prototype Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid prior to its launch in the autumn next year.
The loan will enable LeasePlan to undertake a one-week internal trial before making it available to interested clients to experience. By having the opportunity of advance testing, LeasePlan will be able to assess residual value and on-road performance ahead of the vehicle’s launch next year.
The Prius Plug-in Hybrid will feature a high capacity rechargeable lithium-ion battery and an ultra efficient 1.8-litre petrol engine. Combined CO2 emissions are predicted to be just 49g/km with combined fuel consumption of 134.5mpg.
The advanced battery technology allows the car to be driven for approximately 14 miles on electric power alone after a charge from a normal house-hold plug, taking approximately 90 minutes. Once the Prius Plug-in Hybrid has reached the limits of its electric range it switches seamlessly to its full hybrid system using the electric motor and petrol engine and avoiding the “range anxiety” associated with full electric vehicles.
David Brennan, managing director of LeasePlan UK, said: “Following our recent Green Fleet award win, we are delighted to once again be at the forefront of developments in the field of environmentally-friendly motoring. We believe it is important for our team to gain first-hand experience of new green vehicles to ensure we can deliver the best advice to our customers.
“We have enjoyed a longstanding partnership with Toyota, and we are all excited to see what this innovative new model can bring to the table. This trial will represent another step in delivering the best possible value and innovation to our clients across the UK.”
Ewan Shepherd, general manager Toyota Fleet said: “Toyota is at the forefront of hybrid technology and our Plug-in hybrid represents the next stage of our development programme. The technology provides all the benefits of an EV but without the downsides of limited performance or driving range. Our partnership with Leaseplan provides their clients with first-hand experience of the practical application of this technology prior to the 2012 launch.”