Toyota begins Plug-in Hybrid tests in California and Japan

The NY Times reports that Toyota has started testing Plug in Hybrid versions of the Prius

The Mercury news has extra information on its blog and in the main SJ Mercury newspaper

* Susan Shaheen, a UC-Berkeley researcher, said she’s still figuring out the methodology for the studies into how people react to PHEVs, but that she anticipates using travel diaries, logs, surveys and other tools. It’s likely, she said, that this means real people will get some seat time — “exactly who, I don’t know,” she said.

Her 2-year, $750,000 grant will be shared with Tim Lipman, who will study more technological issues including energy usage and impact upon the environment.

* Jaycie Chitwood, a Toyota senior strategic planner, told me that the company will have a few of the prototype plug-in hybrids, too, here in the U.S. in addition to those going to Berkeley and Irvine. In Japan, they’ll have eight others. The vehicles are being built in Japan, too.