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Japan Certifies Toyota Plug-in Hybrid for Public Road Tests - VIDEO ENHANCED


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TOKYO - July 26, 2007: Toyota Motor Corporation announced yesterday that it has developed a plug-in hybrid vehicle and become the first manufacturer to have such a vehicle certified for use on public roads in Japan.

The TOYOTA Plug-in HV — certified for public road-use by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport — uses, like earlier TMC-developed hybrid vehicles, both a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine and an electric motor. But increased battery capacity gives it a longer electric-motor-only cruising range and a battery-charging device allows users to replenish the batteries using household electricity. These features enable the vehicle to run more often in gasoline-free, electric-only mode, such as on short trips in city driving. The resulting fuel efficiency improvements mean lower CO2 emissions and less fossil fuel consumption and, therefore, less pollution. Also, charging the battery with less-expensive nighttime electricity lowers total running costs, providing an economic benefit to owners.

Although challenges still exist in the development of pure electric vehicles such as a limited cruising range and issues related to cost, TMC still views plug-in hybrid vehicles as a promising technology for allowing electricity to serve as a viable power source for automobiles and is committed to their continued development as a key environmental technology.

TMC plans to conduct public-road tests in Japan with eight units of the TOYOTA Plug-in HV to verify electric-motor-only cruising ranges and optimal battery capacity. While doing so, it plans to provide the government with data for formulating testing methods for emissions and fuel efficiency and to consider TMC's measures for promoting plug-in hybrids and the use of electricity. There are also plans to conduct public-road tests of the TOYOTA Plug-in HV in the United States and in Europe.