Toyota’s New Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

Lynne Kiesling

Toyota has prototyped a plug-in hybrid Prius, which will enable the vehicle to be plugged in to charge its battery instead of using the gasoline engine to do so. This type of versatility can have a variety of implications for the electric power network in the future, most interestingly (at least to me), the possibility of reversing the direction and using our vehicles as distributed mobile storage. At this point the charge would only provide 8 miles worth of driving capability, but as the technology matures you could, say, drive home from work at night and use your car to provide your overnight power in your home, or to provide power during peak hours so you don’t have to pay peak prices if you face dynamic pricing.

Versatility and adaptability are going to be the hallmarks of valuable energy technologies for us in the future.