TULSA, OK – American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma (AEP-PSO), a utility company, debuted a 2008 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle at its downtown offices Mar. 17. The company bought the vehicle and spent $10,000 more to have it outfitted with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, according to The Edmond Sun.
Officials said the vehicle can be driven up to 40 miles on the battery, if charged within six hours from a common 120V outlet. While most hybrids use a gasoline engine and have a battery that is recharged while the engine is running, the Prius plug-in hybrid uses three batteries. Company officials said when the lithium-ion battery is fully utilized, the vehicle could get 70 miles per gallon.
"Even if you have diesel trucks, finding a station in town is a little bit of a hassle," said Chuck Walker, AEP-PSO's fleet manager, reported The Edmond Sun. "The infrastructure for this is already in your garage."
AEP-PSO's Chief Operating Officer Stuart Solomon drove the vehicle from the AEP Columbus, Ohio corporate headquarters to Tulsa, a trip of about 820 miles.
"We're really pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate a promising new technology here in Oklahoma," Solomon said. "The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology will help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve our environment by lowering emissions, and it can also allow us to make more efficient use of the electrical grid."
The company will be able to use the vehicle for a couple of months and has plans to take it around Oklahoma. Solomon has reportedly been driving the new addition almost every day.
"It's definitely an attention-getter and a great way to help introduce this new technology to our customers," he said.