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Toyota to lease plug-in hybrids in Europe

Toyota says that it plans to lease 150 plug-in electric hybrid vehicles to fleet customers across Europe beginning later this year. The program will start with a fleet deployment in Strasbourg, France, before moving on to three other countries - likely the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands.

Tadashi Arashima, President and Chief Executive of Toyota Motor Europe, said, "The PHV is a natural extension of our full hybrid technology, which is designed to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for transport. The pan-European expansion of our limited lease program will enable us to scrutinize PHV performance in a variety of markets with different infrastructure constraints, driving conditions and customer expectations. It represents a critical next step towards broader commercialization of PHVs in the medium-term."

The Strasbourg program will see 100 vehicles head to fleet and public customers for a three-year period. The automaker says the cars are capable of being driven for short distances on just electric power before a Prius-like full gasoline/electric hybrid system takes over.