Prius Plug-in Hybrid Lease Discussions Begin in Japan

Approximately 200 electric vehicles will be leased through a leasing company to designated parties such as government ministries, local governments and energy companies that are actively promoting environmentally considerate vehicles.

The designated parties are principally participants in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s "EV & PHV Towns" program1, which aims to promote the widespread use of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs).

Details of the leasing scheme for Japan will be determined through November, with delivery scheduled for mid-December onward. The electric cars will only be leased to parties already designated by TMC.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is based on the third-generation "Prius" and is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that can be charged using an external electric power source. The vehicle can be used as an EV for short distances, while for medium- and long-distance trips it functions as a conventional gasoline-electric hybrid, meaning use is not constrained by remaining battery power or availability of battery-charging infrastructure. Furthermore, PHVs, such as the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, are expected to achieve higher fuel efficiency than conventional hybrid vehicles, limit consumption of fossil fuels, and reduce CO2 emissions and atmospheric pollution.

TMC believes that, to meet the diversification of energy sources, PHVs are currently the most-suitable environmentally considerate vehicles for widespread use. TMC is therefore encouraging PHV market introduction and understanding toward widespread use by introducing a total of 500 units of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid globally—primarily to fleet customers. Approximately 150 units will go to the United States, and more than 150 units will go to Europe, to countries including France, the United Kingdom and Portugal.

TMC has positioned hybrid technologies as core environmentally considerate vehicle technologies and is using them in the development not only of plug-in hybrid vehicles but also electric vehicles and fuel-cell hybrid vehicles. TMC will continue its efforts in developing and putting into practical use these next-generation vehicles, which are hoped to contribute to reducing petroleum consumption, reducing CO2 emissions and responding to the diversification of energy sources.

An intensive model program, through the collaboration of the national and local governments, regional businesses and auto manufacturers in Japan, for the introduction and promotion of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles as well as for accelerating the setting up of charging infrastructures and the development of societal awareness and preparedness. Each participating local government is to submit by around the end of this financial year a master plan that reflects the progress of its action plan.