Toyota hosted a special vehicle hand-over to one of its leading business customers yesterday when Dr Shoichiro Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation Honorary Chairman, personally presented the keys of a new Prius Plug-in to Electricity North West.

Toyota prius UK

Dr Toyoda was at Toyota GB’s Surrey headquarters during a visit to the UK and took the opportunity to present the first new Prius Plug-in to be ordered by a fleet customer. The car was accepted by Susan Stockwell, Customer Service Director of the Warrington-based electricity distribution company.

Ewan Shepherd, General Manager for Toyota/Lexus Fleet Services said: “It was an honour for us to have Dr Toyoda here for the hand-over of a car that is such an exciting and innovative proposition for our fleet customers.

“Prius Plug-in Hybrid marks an important development of Toyota’s advanced, but highly practical technology for cleaner, more efficient and cost-effective transport. With its quickly rechargeable lithium-ion battery and its unmatched offering of extended, zero emissions all-electric capability with an uncompromised hybrid vehicle driving range, it delivers ‘best of both worlds’ motoring – something that will be very attractive to our customers who want to reduce their emissions and, crucially, save costs.”

Susan Stockwell said: “As the North West’s electricity network operator, we are delighted to be the UK’s first owner of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid. We are working hard to ensure that our network can support electric car charging points to help the country reduce its carbon footprint, so it’s only right that we have our own plug-in vehicle. The short charging time of the Prius was certainly a big selling point for us.”

Electricity North West, a well-established Toyota fleet customer, operates and maintains the North West’s electricity distribution network, connecting more than 2.4 million homes and five million people to the National Grid, covering a region that extends from rural Cumbria to urban Manchester.

Prius Plug-in represents the latest evolution of Toyota’s world-leading hybrid technology. It can cover around 15.5 miles on electric power with zero tailpipe emissions, thanks to its compact and lightweight lithium-ion battery. A full battery recharge can be accomplished in about 90 minutes, by connecting the vehicle to a domestic or workplace supply, or a roadside charging point. Once battery charge is depleted, Prius Plug-in switches seamlessly to its hybrid system, bringing its 1.8-litre petrol engine into play. This means drivers do not experience the “range anxiety” associated with full electric vehicles. Plug-in’s official CO2 emissions are just 49 g/km and combined fuel consumption is 134.5 mpg.