Want To Test Drive A Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid? Zip Over To Zipcar

January 28, 2011

If you follow car news, you already know that automakers around the globe are preparing to launch an array of plug-in vehicles, from hybrids to full EVs. But while many of those models have already begun creeping toward showrooms, there's one notable absence: the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

As our sister site, Green Car Reports, reported last fall, the launch of the Prius Plug-In has been pushed back to mid-2012. But there's some good news for hybrid fans: the company is providing a handful of Plug-Ins -- eight, to be exact -- to select Zipcar outlets across the nation.

Of course, Zipcar isn't the only fleet with access to the new ride. Back in December, Hertz announced that it would rent the Prius Plug-In to drivers in New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and other markets. In fact, a total of 160 Prius Plug-Ins are being made available nationwide, with Toyota's goal being to (a) study the performance of the vehicles, and (b) generate buzz among the car-buying public.

No doubt, Zipcar will allow Toyota plenty of opportunities to examine performance. The company seems particularly attractive to eco-minded urbanites, so these eight Plug-Ins will likely be in very high demand. Whether they'll result in buzz -- and ultimately, sales -- is a different question, since Zipcar members aren't necessarily the car-buying type.

The eight Prius Plug-Ins will be available to Zipcar members in Boston/Cambridge, Portland, and San Francisco. For additional details, feel free to scan the press release below. And don't forget to check out John Voelcker's recap of his first drive in the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid prototype last November.
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Zipcar Announces Program with Toyota to Launch Multi-City Introduction of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHVs)

New Program Designed to Further Test and Evaluate How PHVs and EVs Can Lead to Sustainable Networked Transportation Systems


CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zipcar, Inc., the world's leading car sharing service, today announced the introduction of eight Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHVs) into the Zipcar network, in an effort to further test and evaluate plug-in hybrid technology and gain increased intelligence on how electric vehicles (EVs) can fit into a large-scale car-sharing model.  The Prius PHVs are now available to Zipcar members in Boston/Cambridge, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon

The new vehicles are part of a pilot program with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. to demonstrate plug-in hybrid technology, evaluate the performance of the vehicles and help to educate and prepare the public for the electrification of the automobile. The Toyota Prius PHVs, which will become commercially available in 2012, are eight of approximately 160 being distributed by Toyota nationwide.  

Zipcar currently offers three of the vehicles in Cambridge/Boston; one located at the Albany Street Garage on the campus of MIT, one at 33 Arch Street in downtown Boston and one at the Prudential Center.  San Francisco members have access to three of the Prius PHV vehicles, which join a converted plug-in Prius already in the fleet.  One of the vehicles is housed in front of City Hall, one is located in North Point/Fisherman's Wharf and the third is located in Union Square.  Two vehicles are also available in Portland, one at the Portland State University Parking Garage and one at Shaver Green.  The eight Prius PHVs will be available to Zipcar members in Boston/Cambridge, San Francisco and Portland for reservation throughout 2011.

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