If you are like me, then you probably can’t stand the idea of ordering a car that cost five figures and part of what you make in the year without driving it. So what are you to do? If you are one of the tens of thousands of consumers out there then you probably go an take a test-drive. That is a little trickier when it comes to leading edge technology like the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. Toyota seems to get that and that the adoption rates by consumers are going to be slow if they can’t experience them. The solution—put them in the hands of drivers through controlled programs.
Zipcar, Inc., a U.S. based car sharing company, has worked a deal with Toyota to introduce eight Toytoa Prius Plug-in Hybrids in three markets as part of a pilot program to test and evaluate the performance of the plug-in hybrid technology. The vehicles will be available to Zipcar members for reservation throughout 2011. So the good news is, if you live in San Francisco, Portland or Boston/Cambridge you can become a member of Zipcar (if you aren’t already) and take a Plug-in Prius for a spin. Or several. If you don’t live in any of those three markets listed above, don’t despair.
Toyota actually has some 160 Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicles being distributed to different organization nationwide. One you might be more familiar with, even than Zipcar, is Hertz Rental Car. In December of last year, Hertz announced that the company would be renting the Toyota Pruis Plug-in Hybrid to customers in New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco with other markets to follow this year. If you like to try before you buy and the dealers don’t have what you want, then check out Hertz and Zipcar.
Want more information on the Zipcar PHV rollout? Check out our partners over at TheCarConnection.com and look for the press release after the break and be sure to review our report on the first drive back in November of 2010.