Since December of 2009, about 230 Prius PHV vehicles have been leased, mainly to corporate customers in Japan. Aside from this, the trial sought to gather driving data and user reactions from individual customers. The project began in May of 2011 and continued for a total of 4 months.
Toyota City has high consciousness of the ecology and is one of 13 municipalities as an "Environmental Model City". In the city at 25 locations, such as the city hall, train stations and convenience stores, charging facilities for 35 vehicles had already been installed and now 6 additional facilities have been installed at 6 JCCU/Co-Op stores, making for even greater convenience.
Individual customers attended a briefing regarding the project.
Charging facilities is within the area of daily life including city hall.
The Prius PHV can be driven as a hybrid vehicle even without a charge. The more often the vehicle is charged, the EV cruising range is further extended, with eco-friendly driving made more possible.
For this trial, a total of 25 persons cooperated in the data collection which included 5 male and 2 female company workers; 14 full-time housewives and 4 working housewives. In most cases, full-time housewives used the vehicles to go shopping and transport family members and the male and female workers used them to go to and from their jobs.
A Prius PHV being charged.
Efforts are being made to ensure that space is available near the charging facility.
Among the reactions that the participants had were:
• "I felt that should drive conscious of the environment."
• "I am happy that I am contributing to less petroleum use and reduced exhaust gasses."
• "Activities within the EV cruising range increased."
• "I wondered whether there was a problem with the way I had been driving up to now."
These and other opinions showed a heightened consciousness of the ecology.
• "Usually I hardly ever need to use gasoline, and that is really a help. I think it is an ideal vehicle."
• "Since most of the time I make short trips, charging at home is sufficient, which is very convenient."
Thus, for housewives doing the daily shopping, they were satisfied that EV driving was sufficient to cover their needs.
"I drove about 3,000km in two months, but nearly half of the gasoline was left!" was one happy, surprised reaction. On the other hand, we were also told, "The charging cable is long and heavy."
Regarding the charging facilities installed in the city, opinions such as:
• "We will be pleased when several free-charging facilities are available."
• "We would like to be able to use them without prior appointments necessary."
• "Sometimes cars unrelated are parked in the spaces for the charging facility."
were also given.
It will be a very good thing if charging can be done without concern.