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News & Events - February '12
29.2.2012Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid
The official EU emissions and economy figures for the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid have been announced as 49 g/km and 134.5 mpg.
Toyota has announced the official EU CO2 emissions and economy figures for the new Prius Plug-In Hybrid. The car will emit 49 g/km of CO2 on the combined cycle and travel 134.5 miles on one gallon of petrol, making it the most efficient Toyota ever on British roads.
Following feedback from an extensive customer trial in the UK and across Europe, Toyota’s engineers have improved the car’s EV driving range to 15.5 miles, an improvement of 24% versus the customer trial vehicle. And, at only 90 minutes using a conventional plug, recharging is quicker than any other electric vehicle on the market today.
When the EV battery is depleted, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid automatically switches into HV mode, delivering CO2 emissions of 85 g/km and economy of 76.4mpg, an improvement on the emissions and fuel economy of the standard Prius.
This leading performance helps to deliver a total driving range of 769 miles.
The class-leading economy of the Prius Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t come at the expense of packaging. The car continues to offer the same interior space as the standard Prius, with seating for five and 443 litres of bootspace.
The latest addition to Toyota’s Prius family will be launched in the summer of 2012, with starting prices below £30,000, inclusive of the UK government’s Plug-in Car Grant.
Read our Toyota Prius review
Read about the Plug-in Car Grant
Mia Electric will launch three vehicles in the UK in May 2012 and all three will qualify for the Government’s ‘Plug-In Car’ and ‘Plug-In Van’ Grants.
This follows months of close consultation and cooperation with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) which has now deemed that mia electric’s vehicles meet all the safety, reliability, performance and warranty standards necessary for the UK market.
Having qualified for both grants, any motorist wishing to buy a mia electric vehicle when they go on sale in the UK market later this year will be entitled to a discount of around £5000. This additional Government support means the mia’s standard short wheelbase model (mia-U) will retail at approximately £21,000 and the two extended models, the mia L and the mia box van, will both retail at approximately £22,000.
mia electric particularly supports the UK government’s decision to extend the grant to vans, which are especially suited to electric because of their commercial use. Vans tend to travel the same route and distance on a daily basis and have ample opportunity to be recharged at regular stop-offs and bases.
Mia cars have been designed by the former head of design at Volkswagen, Murat Günak, and come in three configurations – the standard short wheelbase model and two extended models, the mia L and the mia box van.
Thanks to its lightweight design concept, the standard model weighs only 765kg (extended models weighs 786kg) giving it extremely economical power consumption and low running costs (approx £1.30 per 62 miles).
All three vehicles are powered by an 18kW electric motor at the rear of the car that gives a top speed of 68 mph. A 75 to 80 mile range is available from the 12 kWh battery pack that comes as standard and the lithium iron phosphate batteries can be fully charged in five hours. This battery system is exceptionally safe and helps alleviate range anxiety by allowing “no memory effect” charging. This means the battery can be charged for short top-up periods with absolutely no adverse effect to the life of the battery. (e.g. a ten minute charge will give an extra 5 miles of range).
The standard short wheelbase mia has three seats in total, while the extended mia L has four. Instead of three back seats, as in the mia L, the mia box van features a cargo capacity of 1,500 litres.
All three variants of the mia have a central driving position which allows the driver to get in and out of the car on both sides. This seat arrangement provides the driver with a perfect view of the city traffic and the passengers at the back with plenty of legroom. It also gives the cabin a unique office-style layout that features a display with space to mount a tablet computer and smartphone.
Mia electric was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010 and currently employs 300 engineers at its production facility in Cerizay, western France. The company was formed having been acquired from car developer, Heuliez.
The company is owned by a Franco-German partnership in which the German parent company, mia electric GmbH, has a majority shareholding of 52.7%. The principal shareholder of mia electric GmbH is Prof. Edwin Kohl, founder and owner of the pharmaceuticals group, kohl group. He is partnered in mia GmbH by the co-founder, co-owner and director of the energy service provider conIenergy.
Prof. Edwin Kohl also has a personal stake of 36% of the company through his direct investment into mia’s production company, mia electric SAS. The French region of Poitou-Charentes holds the remaining 11.3% of the company.
Read more about the Government’s ‘Plug-In Van’ Grant.
Read our Electric Car Guide.
21.2.2012First vehicles eligible for Plug-in Van Grant announced
The government has announced details of the first seven electric van models eligible for up to £8,000 - or 20% - discount under the new Plug-in Van Grant.
The first seven vans to be made eligible for the grants are:
• Azure Dynamics – Transit Connect Electric - On sale now
• Daimler Mercedes-Benz – Vito E-Cell - On sale now
• Faam – ECOMILE - March 2012
• Faam – JOLLY 2000 - March 2012
• Mia-electric – Mia U - May 2012
• Renault – Kangoo ZE variants Kangoo VAN ZE, Kangoo Van Maxi ZE, and Kangoo Van Maxi Crew ZE - On sale now
• Smith Electric – Smith Edison variants SE2 and SE3 - On sale now
Motorists purchasing a qualifying ultra-low emission van can receive a grant of 20 per cent towards the cost of the vehicle, up to a maximum of £8,000.
The Government is adopting a ‘technology neutral’ approach to reducing emissions from transport. This means that any van which meets the criteria below will be eligible for the subsidy.
The Plug-in Van Grant has been designed to help make the whole-life costs of a qualifying van more comparable with petrol or diesel equivalents. Over time, as manufacturers begin to make these vans in greater volumes, the costs of production should begin to fall. This will help to make an ultra-low carbon van a realistic option for anyone looking to buy or lease a van.
Both private consumers and businesses can benefit from the Plug-in Van Grant when purchasing a qualifying ultra-low emission van and registering it in the UK.
Vehicles must have been confirmed by Government as eligible under the rules of the scheme in order to receive subsidy:
Only new vans are eligible (vehicle category ‘N1’ with a gross weight of 3.5 tonnes or less). This includes pre-registration conversions (normal, internal combustion engine vans that were converted to battery or hybrid versions by specialist convertors before the van’s first registration).
Carbon dioxide exhaust emissions
Vehicles must emit less than 75 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre driven.
Eligible fully electric vans must be able to travel a minimum of 60 miles between charges. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) must have a minimum electric range of 10 miles.
Minimum top speed
Vehicles must be able to reach a speed of 50 miles per hour or more.
Vehicles must have:
- a 3-year or 60,000-miles vehicle warranty (guarantee)
- a 3-year battery and electric drive train warranty, with the option of extending the battery warranty for an extra 2 years
‘Drive train’ means the parts that send power from the engine to the wheels. These include the clutch, transmission (gear box), drive shafts, U-joints and differential
Vehicles must have:
- either a minimum 5-year warranty on the battery and electric drive train as standard
- or extra evidence of battery performance to show reasonable performance after 3 years of use
Vehicles must comply with certain regulations (UN-ECE Reg 100.00) that show that they are electrically safe.
To make sure vans will be safe in a crash, they must either have:
- Minimum EC regulatory standards for volume production;
- Or evidence that the van demonstrates high levels of safety as judged by international standards. For example, crash testing for other internationally recognised consumer information programmes or regulatory standards, that offer a comparable level of safety stringency as EC minimum regulatory standards for volume production.
Frequently asked questions
I am thinking about buying a qualifying ultra-low emission van – how do I apply for the Grant?
If you are looking to use the Plug-in Van Grant to purchase an eligible van, the good news is that there are no application forms to fill in. The dealership or vendor you are buying your van from will complete all the paperwork on your behalf as you buy the van; and the amount of your grant will be automatically deducted from the price of your van at the point of purchase.
Before you purchase your van, the dealer will ask you a few questions about your decision to purchase an ultra-low emission vehicle. This data will help inform policy decisions about ultra-low emission vehicles and supporting infrastructure.
I am a vehicle manufacturer looking to see whether a model is eligible for subsidy under the terms of the scheme. How do I apply for Plug-in Van Grant eligibility?
Vehicle manufacturers who want to apply for their vehicle model to be eligible for subsidy under the scheme will need to make a formal application. To do this, you will require an application pack and associated guidance. You can request this by submitting a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
See our Electric Car Guide
See our Renault Kangoo Van ZE road test
13.2.2012Toyota at the Geneva Motor Show
Toyota will have a number of green products on display at the Geneva motor show, including the Yaris Hybrid; theFT-Bh concept, a low emissions affordable city car; and the NS4 and FCV-R concepts.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid
The Yaris Hybrid will be shown for the first time in its production-ready form, ahead of going sale in June this year. Powered by a re-engineered Hybrid Synergy Drive, it will be Europe’s first full hybrid supermini, opening up the technology to a new customer group. Toyota claims that it will deliver the lowest emissions in its segment.
Toyota FT-Bh concept
Geneva marks the world debut of the FT-Bh concept, an ultra-lightweight, full hybrid city car study, designed to achieve low emissions within an economically viable production framework. The team that produced FT-Bh purposely avoided expensive materials and complex manufacturing processes, working instead only with those that are already commonplace in the auto industry.
Toyota NS4 concept
Toyota’s NS4 and FCV-R concepts are also being shown in Europe for the first time.
The NS4, pictured, is a next-generation plug-in hybrid vehicle, which Toyota says is designed to "address customer demand for added value from hybrid motoring, together with advanced design and a more involving drive". Whether this is true or not, it certainly looks better than many recent Toyota models.
Toyota FCV-R concept
The FCV-R represents Toyota’s next step towards mass production of hydrogen-powered vehicles, paving the way for the launch of a saloon-type fuel cell vehicle by 2015.
Toyota GT 86
The GT 86 may be seen as more sports car than green car, but it’s designed to be as lightweight as possible, so that automatically qualifies it for being one of the greener cars in class. The GT 86 is due to reach the road this summer.
The Toyota diji concept – previously shown at last year’s Tokyo motor show as the Fun-Vii – is all about personalisation. The entire body, inside and out, serves as a display, with the driver being able to change colour and content at will. The process of displaying images or information is as simple as downloading an app. The car can also link to nearby vehicles and infrastructure to create an even more connected driving experience.