Community Blog

The purpose of the Community Blog is to post news about the Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Study at CU Boulder and (eventually) about the study results, as well as to engage the community in discussions about numerous topics related to emerging approaches in transportation and energy systems: environmental, economic and societal impacts, science and technology, education, … The blog is moderated by CU Boulder researchers. We invite you to share your thoughts and topic suggestions through your comments to the Community Blog posts.

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On the Road

The Plug-Ins are here!  We officially launched the PHV project on Tuesday, September 14, 2010, with a ride-and-drive press conference, complete with musicians from the CU-Boulder College of Music and the official Prius Plug-In Cake. Watch a video clip from KWGN/Fox 31 News.

You may now start experiencing Prius sightings.  Look for the blue “plug-in hybrid” racing stripe that differentiates this car from the regular Prius.  Right now the cars are being driven by CU project personnel.  We’re roaming the town checking out our mileage, the driving experience, and the location of public charging stations.

Within the next couple of weeks, we expect to begin transitioning the vehicles to the study participants.  A reminder—these households are chosen randomly, so we are not able to take volunteers.  But we do appreciate all those who have offered.

Thanks to all who attended the launch event, and to those of you who continue to visit and follow our new blog.

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nsitioning the vehicles to the study participants.  A reminder—these households are chosen randomly, so we are not able to take volunteers.  But we do appreciate all those who have offered.

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Prius PHV charging at the North Boulder Rec Center

There are two working 120V sockets and two dedicated parking spots for charging electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at the NW end of the parking lot at the North Boulder Rec Center (NBRC).

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Prius plug-in hybrid vehicles introduced

More about the introduction of Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid vehicles and about the vehicle characteristics can be found at Green Car Congress.

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CU-NREL Energy Institute launches study of Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles in Boulder

Sept. 14, 2010 Press Release

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, or RASEI — a joint venture with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory — will partner with Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. in a field study of household experiences and the technical impacts of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or PHVs, in a “smart grid” environment.

Toyota Motor Sales will supply 18 Prius PHVs for the two-year program. The cars will be circulated in three-month stints among 108 randomly selected Boulder households that volunteered to be part of “smart grid” pilot tests.

“This is a great example of CU working together with industry to address big-picture energy questions,” said Michael Knotek, director of RASEI. “RASEI is here to make a real-world impact. With these partnerships and our ‘smart grid’ research expertise, we’ll be able to get some new insights into the intersection of transportation and the electric grid.”

RASEI and Toyota Motor Sales, with the integral participation of Xcel Energy, will gather data on vehicle performance and electricity usage, as well as how households interact with vehicle feedback through “smart grid” technology. The Boulder location also presents the opportunity for researchers to monitor the performance of Toyota’s first-generation lithium-ion battery at high altitudes and in cold weather.

The 18 vehicles being used in the field study are part of a 150-vehicle demonstration program that Toyota Motor Sales is conducting throughout the United States.

The Prius PHV can be charged in approximately three hours from a standard 110-volt electrical outlet, or in one and a half hours with a 220-volt electrical outlet, and can cruise in electric-only mode for approximately 13 miles. For longer distances, the PHV reverts to its hybrid mode and operates like a regular Prius.

A community blog on the field study will be hosted at http://cupluginhybrid.org. For more information on the PHVs and Toyota Motor Sales’ demonstration program visit http://www.toyota.com/esq/.

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PHV Study Opening

The PHV Study opening is on Tuesday, September 14, with 18 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHV) arriving to Boulder. Households drawn randomly will receive a Prius PHV for a test period of three months. Over a period of 2 years, 108 households will get a chance to test drive the Prius PHV.  Organizations partnering with the University of Colorado Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) are Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Xcel Energy, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  The study’s purpose is to learn about the vehicle performance, integration of the vehicles on the electric power grid, and the perceptions, preferences, and experiences of households with the PHVs.

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Prius Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHV)

Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHV) in the PHV Study are based on the 2010 Prius hybrid. The PHV Prius has a larger battery that allows an extended  drive range in the electric (EV) mode. In the EV mode, the vehicle can reach highway speeds (up to about 60 mph). The PHV Prius lithium-ion battery can be fully recharged in about 3 hours from a standard 120 V outlet, or in about 1.5 hours from a 240 V charging station. A fully charged battery allows about 13 miles of electric (EV) drive range. When out of the EV mode, the PHV Prius operates as a standard 2010 Prius hybrid. Read more about the Prius PHV in the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Demo program.

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