AUTO21 partners with Toyota to test all-new Prius Plug-in Hybrid in Ontario

WINDSOR, ON, March 25 /CNW/ - Ontario researchers with the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence will soon be gathering critical technical data for the new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle (PHV). Toyota recently unveiled the plug-in version of the Prius hybrid and is engaging in global trials to assess its performance in a variety of driving and climate conditions. AUTO21 is one of two Ontario partner organizations in the global testing.

"As Canada's national automotive research and development program, AUTO21 is well-situated to help Toyota in its data collection efforts," said Dr. Peter Frise, Scientific Director and CEO of AUTO21. "The use of the car will be an excellent learning opportunity in near-to-market technology for the researchers and student researchers who participate in the testing."

AUTO21 representatives will soon begin driving the Prius Plug-in Hybrid in everyday weather and traffic conditions. Each vehicle is equipped with a telematics device to capture performance data. The data collected by AUTO21 and 13 other partner organizations through winter 2011 will help Toyota ensure that the Prius PHV performs well in Canada's varying climate and natural environments. In addition to Ontario, data collection will also occur in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec. The City of Toronto will also collect data in Ontario.

"We're encouraged to be joined by partners from across stakeholder groups, and their participation will help ensure the successful introduction of plug-in vehicles to the Canadian market," noted Sandy Di Felice, Director, External Affairs at Toyota Canada Inc. "We are pleased to have the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence on board as part of the first phase of this national trial. Their expertise and feedback will play a key role as we continue to plan for the launch of plug-in vehicles."

AUTO21 supports more than 220 researchers and 500 student researchers at 45 universities across the country. More than 220 public and private sector organizations partner with AUTO21. With an annual research budget of approximately $11 million, AUTO21 and its partners support projects in six key areas: health, safety and injury prevention; societal issues; materials and manufacturing; design processes; powertrains, fuels and emissions; and intelligent systems and sensors. AUTO21 is supported by the Government of Canada through a Networks of Centres of Excellence program, and its administrative centre is hosted by the University of Windsor.

Digital images and product details are available at media.toyota.ca

SOURCE AUTO21

For further information: For further information: Stephanie Campeau, Communications Manager, AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence, Tel: (519) 253-3000, ext. 4129, Cell: (519) 890-6830

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