Wall-charged electric car launched

Toyota has launched its new petrol and electricity hybrid car which can be charged from any household wall socket.

The Toyota Plug-In-Hybrid-Vehicle (PHV) uses electric power to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions on short journeys, with the option of a petrol engine on longer hauls.

Previous hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, could not be charged from the grid - the battery was charged as the car drove along.

This car can be charged either from a standard household electrical point or at specially designed charging posts, 40 of which have already been installed in the UK by EDF Energy.

Toyota believes the new development marks an important milestone in the move towards cleaner motor technology.

Initial tests on the vehicle will take place over the coming year, with 50 employees of the energy company EDF using the PHV for journeys in the Greater London area.

Tests on the car in France suggest that for journeys up to 25 kilometres, its fuel efficiency is about 60% better than that of the standard Prius.

The PHV has a maximum range of 10 kilometres (six miles) in electric mode, after which it switches to standard hybrid mode with the battery charging as the car moves.

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