Plug-in hybrids for lease in London

June 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Let’s get this show back on the road. This week kicks off with some nice news: the largest-yet fleet of plug-in hybrids is to go on lease in London. Toyota is partnering with EDF Energy, which is to provide recharging points, in a three-year programme with plug-in Prius prototypes; the cars will be run byTransport for London, the government’s Car and Despatch Agency, the Metropolitan Police, News International and Sky. The plug-in Prius can go up to 12.5 miles – enough for city journeys – at up to 62mph in electric-only mode, and averages out at 108.6mpg and 59g/km of carbon dioxide on the combined cycle.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi is sending a trial fleet of six M-iEV electric city cars to the North East; these will be run by council staff in Gateshead, Newcastle, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees.

On a more cynical note, both programmes are, incidentally, backed by government funding via various quango-type organisations. These include CENEX, the National Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon Vehicles (who stumped up £26,000 for the Mitsubishi trial, and who will be collecting feedback on the cars’ in-field performance) and the regional development agency One North East (which is installing 1,300 new public-access EV recharging points across the region).

Other players in these trials include the Technology Strategy Board, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing, the national Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement programme for the public sector, the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles, the Plugged In Places and the Low Carbon Economic Area for Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles programmes.

Great to see these cars in use, but this does seem like overkill to get a handful on the road; I wonder how long before funding for such projects will last before Osborne & co ask why, exactly, it takes so many different organisations to persuade councils and businesses to change a few of their vehicles.

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