SYRACUSE, NY - Clean Communities of CNY, the central and western New York chapter of the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program, received six Prius plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV) as part of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.'s (TMS) U.S. plug-in demonstration program. Clean Communities is managing a long-term evaluation of the vehicles, which are being used by coalition members and project partners Syracuse University, Syracuse Center of Excellence (SyracuseCoE), and CuseCar, a local not-for-profit community car share provider utilizing alternatively fueled vehicles, according to a news release.

A total of 150 PHVs are being delivered to demonstration program partners across the U.S. — 600 throughout the world — as part of a global program to demonstrate plug-in hybrid technology, educate and inform the public about the cars, and capture real-world driving data.  The Prius PHV is capable of running on electricity for approximately 13 miles at speeds up to 62 mph, at which point it operates as a conventional Prius hybrid.

Leadership partners — SU, SyracuseCoE and CuseCar — received the keys to the vehicles at a news conference in mid-August at the SyracuseCoE headquarters. In Syracuse, this program will be able to take advantage of electric vehicle charging stations that are being installed by CuseCar as a part of a DOE/ARRA Economic Stimulus Award, managed by the local Clean Cities Coalition. CuseCar is deploying 75 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the Onondaga County area, preparing the community for an increased availability of electric vehicles in the future.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for Upstate New York," said Barry Carr, coordinator of the U.S. DOE's local Clean Cities Coalition. "Toyota's Plug-in Hybrids will advance the goal of Clean Cities to reduce our dependence on oil and improve our environment. Central New York has long been a testing ground for new products and technologies, and we look forward to establishing a long-term relationship with Toyota."

Clean Communities of CNY will be gathering Prius PHV driving data from SU, SyracuseCoE and CuseCar for 12 to 24 months. Each participant group will have two vehicles that will be rotated for use every two months.

As it becomes available, data from the U.S. demonstration programs will be posted on the Toyota Web site. This readily available data will show how the plug-in hybrid vehicles are being used and how they are performing. As the vehicles gather miles, data such as fuel economy, miles driven, charging times, and additional content will be viewable online. In addition, demonstration partners will be sharing data and comparing usage and performance of the vehicles. The information gathered from the demonstration program will be used in the development of the next generation Prius PHV coming to market in 2012.