Massey trials plug-in hybrid cars

17:00, Sep 23 2010
GREEN
PLUG IT IN: Massey University environmental committee member Dennis Viehland and Toyota corporate account manager Jamie Hanna plug in the new Hybrid Prius.

New Zealand's first plug-in hybrid vehicle was unveiled at Massey University where it will be part of a three-year global trial.

Toyota New Zealand has received three of the 600 Plug-in Hybrid Prius and two of them will be trialled in Massey's vehicle fleet.

One will be based at the Albany campus and one at Palmerston North.

Toyota corporate account manager Jamie Hanna says the car plugs into a normal 240-volt powerpoint commonly found in the home.

It can travel as an electric-only vehicle for up to 30 kilometres, achieving highway speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour.

For longer distances it functions as a conventional petrol-electric hybrid.

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There are no fully electric plug-in cars in New Zealand.

Mr Hanna says there is no price on the car yet but it will likely cost around $50,000.

Massey University information systems associate professor and environmental committee member Dennis Viehland says the car falls into the university's plan to become more sustainable. He says the three Ps of sustainability are people, profit and planet and the car covers all three.

Massey's annual petrol bill is $240,000 which can be reduced through the use of this vehicle, he says.

He's excited about taking the car for a test run.

"I'm looking for a good excuse to take it for a drive," Mr Viehland says.

North Shore Times