back to article First plug-in Prius paraded by car rental firm

Car rental club Streetcar has added what is believed to be the UK’s first plug-in hybrid electric Toyota Prius to its rental fleet. Streetcar_prius Streetcar's plug-in Prius: destined for London-based rentals The Prius was modified for Streetcar by Grantham-based firm Amberjac, which removed the car’s standard nickel-metal …

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How far?

What? 35 miles, 9 grand for 35 WHOLE miles? wow now thats cost effective!

Spending 9 grand to increase the range of a prius on zapping juice to 35 miles is about as sensible as sticking your todger in a blender.

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Oh really?

"the car performs like a standard Toyota Prius."

Surely you mean

"the car performs like a standard Toyota Prius lugging around a sodding great battery in the boot"

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Flame

Cleaner Car??

Erm no, what provides the bulk of the power in this country? Dirty smelly power stations.

So your car isn't belching smoke out of the tailpipe anymore, but it is causing a power station somewhere else to have to burn more fossil fuel so you can plug it in for a few hours and get 35 miles out of it ?!?!?! But then I guess that power station isn't on your doorstep is it, so no need to worry.

....and before the Green brigade start crowing about renewable energy it's also worth pointing out that solar and wind power add up to a sparrows fart in the grand scheme of things and we can't do nuclear, oh no, I mean technology and understanding hasn't moved an inch since 1986 has it. Now excuse me whilst I get back to my Commodore 64 and bowl of smash.

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Not as green as you might think

Yes, it's zero emission when running on battery power, but for only 35 miles. Plus of course, that battery power has to come from a plug socket, which is mostly sourced from a smog-producing power station up the road.

And when it's on petrol (which given the pitiful range, is going to be most of the time) it produces 107g/km of CO2 and averages 65 mpg - the latter of which is widely believed to be rather optimistic, especially considering all that extra battery lard that it has to haul around with it. Compare that to a Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion which produces 99g/km and delivers 74mpg.

The Prius is nothing more than an eco status symbol for those wanting to make a statement about how green they are without bothering to check the facts first.

The above figures are from Parker's website at www.parker.co.uk in case you want to check for yourself. :)

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Range

Surely using a blender on your todger will reduce your range?

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Anonymous Coward

Cost Effective

How is this more environmentally friendly than the regenerative system the prius had before? At the very best, it's the same, but more expensive.

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@Andy

>Spending 9 grand to increase the range of a prius on zapping juice to 35 miles is about as sensible as sticking your todger in a blender.

You have only one todger (I presume). Toyota have lots of Priuses.

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Re: How far?

Also, you'll only get those 35 miles if you do them fairly slowly.

The Prius automatically disables its Electric Vehicle mode when you exceed something around 45 km/h or shove the throttle too hard and cuts in the engine (always assuming you remembered to press the button to force EV mode in the first place).

Rumour has it that the official Toyota PHEV variant, set to debut later this year, is a little more forgiving in this respect, but since the one under discussion is a bog car with a higher capacity* battery pack stuffed into it, I'll bet that the standard restrictions apply here.

*Yes, "higher capacity", not "bigger". I think it's the same physical size as the standard NiMh one...

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Silly, Andy 17

Just lift your finger and do some research on what Streetcar is. Then maybe you'll understand.

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Coat

Not for me.

I'm not squatting next to the power outlet holding the plug in while it charges.

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oh noes

cant even plug it in whenever you get where your going by the look of that plug

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Unhappy

Ridiculous

Ridiculous how much money is spent on upgrading a bad car to begin with, just to make it suck less.

There are far better alternatives around and the UK government should consider financing other options that don't rely on electricity that much, especially considering that UK uses coal and other polluting stuff to generate power.

For example, a good project that's worth investing money in is this one:

http://city-pass.com/~mdi/cityflowair.php

It's a car just right for a taxi, that's also very light and runs more than 180 km on compressed air and can switch to gas if needed... Not to mention it uses only 2 liters of gas when running on gas and generates only 40g of CO2.

Heck, the whole car costs 13000 euros, compared to 9000 euro plus the actual Toyota car price plus the costs to dump the old battery from the Prius to trash or whatever they do with it.

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Prius PHEV

Just for everyone's info. Amberjac replace the standard 1.3kWh battery with a 9kWh unit. The conversion adds about 83kg to the car and the new battery pack is quite a bit bigger than the original and sits in a recess in the bottom of the boot next to the spare wheel. As with the standard Prius electric-only drive is only possible at speeds up to 31mph, though in and around central London that's hardly a drawback.

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Andy17 nails it

Nice publicity stunt, guys, though I do have to admit it might be a little more practical in London than in the US, where we actually have enough space for things like highways.

(Oh, and to the one anonymous coward who talks about burning coal at a power station vs. gasoline in a car -- no, no, no, you've got it all wrong. The term is "carbon offset". Can you say "carbon offset"? I knew you could!)

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Boris Johnston Spin

I don't think this project has anything to do with the economics of running the vehicle... it's a £9000 publicity stunt for Streetcar and Boris Johnston, who will probably now claim that he has a 'fulfilled' manifesto pledge as a result of this one vehicle.

Yes, the idea of a plug-in which lasts for 35 miles sits nicely with the Streetcar concept (designed primarily for short runs, extra charges over 30 miles, and you have to return it to the same bay at the end of your rental), but I really can't see this as being anything other than greenwash.

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Go

to the nay-sayers

look up how street car works. It for people to rent the car from an hour or longer, and go less than 30miles (or they have to start paying excess charges). In London, this is generally under 30mph.

Also, can people PLEASE remember that a power station is FAR more efficient than a combustion engine, even including transmissions losses.

- Remember that UK energy has a fair bit of renewable sources - about 20% from Nuclear, a few percent from Wind and others.

So- running an electric car IS far greener than a petrol one.

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Credit

to Toyota - if any other manufacturer built a car that drove, accelerated, and handled that poorly they'd be laughed out of the market.

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Happy

Any ideas what the *average* Londons speed is?

Or perhaps you remember the Top Gear race across London by bicycle, boat, tube and Chelsea tractor. Where Richard Hammond (bicycle) won.

About 7mph IIRC.

Now if we could get a few of those charge points at various large London hotels perhaps maybe someone might rent it.

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Heart

This is perfect for typical Streetcar trips

I use Streetcar all the time - I use it to go to B&Q on the weekend and pick up supplies, etc.

As several posters have commented - Streetcar is a car share scheme. The conversion of the Prius is ideal for their target market, as most trips like mine are less than 30 miles (this is also at the point where Streetcar charge excess mileage).

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