Plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles are revolting against the rest of the marketplace. Or starting to. Toyota and General Motors have publically announced that they are working on plug-in versions of their Prius and Volt vehicles, respectively.
Now, Ford has jumped into the plug-in fray announcing they will be giving 20 of these vehicles to Southern California Edison electric company (who already has a large fleet of electric vehicles) to test in just a few weeks.
But, even though GM has been the frontrunner in regards to the media hype, it is Toyota that is rather quietly doing the testing of its plug-in Prius cars. Toyota has also gotten government and education institutions involved as well.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is playing with Priuses to find out how they operate so much more efficiently and effectively than other vehicles. They are even experimenting with coupling lithium-ion batteries with a ultracapacitors for maximum output and longevity.
The Idaho National Laboratory is also playing with Priuses as over the next year, 13 such plug-ins will be tested including the next generation lithium-ion batteries that are delivering between 125 mpg and 200 mpg. The goal is to also reduce the price of the lithium-ion battery packs to just $2,000 per car.
Toyota has also partnered with U. C. Davis in northern California to test out the plug-in Prius vehicles. Over 100 members of AAA in northern California will get to test drive the converted Priuses in an 8-week loan agreement.