Most observers believe that plug-in cars will be very popular in certain key cities—and not so much in big swaths of the country. Portland, Ore. is very likely to be one of those plug-in hot spots.
On Friday, Toyota turned over its first Prius Plug-in Hybrid to Portland State University for testing. The vehicle, capable of about 13 miles of all-electric driving, will be driven by students, business leaders, families and P.S.U. president Wiewel. "It's contributing to a very major societal issue that we face, how to deal with global warming with the development of alternative fuels," Wiewel said, in an interview with local news station 8.
It’s one of about 600 plug-in Priuses being evaluated across the United States—as Toyota prepares to introduce the model in 2012. The gas engine of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid can get brought into action prior to the first 13 miles, if the driver requires quick and sudden acceleration.
Portland State University is an ideal location for the testing. It’s considered one of the greenest colleges in the country. Also, thousands of public electric car charging station will be installed throughout Oregon, as part of a program sponsored by the Department of Energy and Portland General Electric—mostly because Portland is one of the first few markets where the all-electric Nissan LEAF will be rolled out.
As a pure electric car, the Nissan LEAF has a driving range of about 100 miles before needing to recharge, while the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid reverts to a standard hybrid after the limited all-electric range has been depleted.
With both vehicles on Portland roads, and lots of charging stations to go around, university researchers and other analysts will learn a lot about the real-world driving of plug-in car drivers.