Want to check out the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid? All you have to do is sign up with Zipcar. Well, if you live in Boston, San Francisco or Portland, Oregon, that is.
The carsharing service plans to add eight Toyota Prius Plug-In hybrids to its fleet. It wants to help the Japanese automaker further test and refine the technology and build a little buzz before the cars appear in showrooms by the middle of 2012.
“Zipcar is committed to taking a thoughtful and deliberate approach to EVs,” Scott Griffith, Chairman and CEO of Zipcar, said in a statement. “Zipcar is an ideal test bed for early consumer acceptance of EVs. This project will allow companies to receive direct feedback from thousands of consumers in three cities and help evaluate how EVs fit into a large-scale carsharing model.”
The plug-in Prius uses a lithium-ion pack and has an all-electric range of about 13 miles at up to 62 mph. Not much, no, but Zipcar says “because many trips taken by Zipcar members are fewer than 13 miles, many PHV trips will be emission-free.”
Once you’re outta juice, the car works pretty much like the Toyota Prius hybrid we all know and love.
The plug-in Priuses (Prii?) headed to Zipcar’s fleet are among 160 Toyota is distributing to municipal and corporate fleets ahead of a broader rollout next year. ZipCar outlets in Boston and San Francisco will get three cars apiece; Portland will receive two.
Photo: Zipcar. From left: Frank Miller, regional distribution manager for Toyota Motor Sales, and Zipcar honcho Scott Griffith with a Prius Plug-In in Cambridge, Massachusetts.