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Syracuse University receives two Toyota Prius plug-in hybrids for local demonstration programs

August 18, 2010

Kelly Homan Rodoski
(315) 443-3784

Syracuse University has received two Prius plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV) as part of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.’s (TMS) U.S. plug-in demonstration program. The Syracuse Center of Excellence (SyracuseCoE) and CuseCar, a local not-for-profit community car share provider utilizing alternatively fueled vehicles, also received two cars each through the program. Clean Communities of Central New York, the local chapter of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program, is managing a long-term evaluation of the vehicles.

A total of 150 PHVs are being delivered to demonstration program partners across the United States—600 throughout the world—as part of a global program to demonstrate plug-in hybrid technology, educate and inform the public about the cars and capture real-world driving data. The Prius PHV is capable of running on electricity for about 13 miles at speeds up to 62 mph, at which point it operates as a conventional Prius hybrid.

SU, SyracuseCoE and CuseCar received the keys to the vehicles at a news conference hosted today at the SyracuseCoE headquarters. In Syracuse, this program will be able to take advantage of electric vehicle charging stations that are being installed by CuseCar as a part of a DOE/ARRA Economic Stimulus Award, managed by the local Clean Cities Coalition. CuseCar is deploying 75 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the Onondaga County area, preparing our community for an increased availability of electric vehicles in the future.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Upstate New York,” says Barry Carr, coordinator of the U.S. DOE’s local Clean Cities Coalition. “Toyota’s Plug-in Hybrids will advance the goal of Clean Cities to reduce our dependence on oil and improve our environment. Central New York has long been a testing ground for new products and technologies, and we look forward to establishing a long-term relationship with Toyota.”

Clean Communities of CNY will be gathering Prius PHV driving data from SU, SyracuseCoE and CuseCar for 12 to 24 months. Each participant group will have two vehicles that will be rotated for use every two months.

As it becomes available, data from the U.S. demonstration programs will be posted on This readily available data will show how the plug-in hybrid vehicles are being used and how they are performing. As the vehicles gather miles, data such as fuel economy, miles driven, charging times and additional content will be viewable online. In addition, demonstration partners will be sharing data and comparing usage and performance of the vehicles. The information gathered from the demonstration program will be used in the development of the next generation Prius PHV coming to market in 2012. 

“Our shared goals of promoting advanced-technology vehicles through demonstration, education and infrastructure development made for a natural partnership between Toyota and the Clean Communities of CNY,” says Jaycie Chitwood, manager of Advance Technology Vehicles, TMS.

“Syracuse University is excited to be a part of this very important research project and to help further advance hybrid vehicle technology,” says Tim Sweet, director of energy and computing management at SU. “Participation in this program will be invaluable in informing our students and the public in general on the benefits of this cutting-edge technology. If this technology can be successfully utilized during our Central New York winters, it can be used anywhere.”

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is based on the third-generation Prius. The vehicle represents a significant enhancement of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive® (HSD) system. It combines high-output lithium-ion batteries with HSD technology to offer an expanded, fully electric driving mode. The Prius PHV can be recharged in about three hours from a standard 110V electrical outlet, or one and a half hours with a 220V connection.

“SyracuseCoE applauds Clean Communities of CNY for making the case to Toyota that Syracuse is the perfect market in which to test and showcase its plug-in hybrid vehicles,” says Ed Bogucz, executive director of SyracuseCoE. “Our four-season climate offers the opportunity to gather driving data in a variety of conditions, our population is pre-disposed to explore new green and clean technology, and the Prius PHVs will fit right in at the Syracuse CoE, which, along with our collaborators, is already exploring clean transportation options for our community.”

“It is exciting that by becoming members of CuseCar, the community car sharing program, and thanks to the advocacy of Clean Communities and with special thanks to Toyota, the general public has the opportunity to drive and experience the new Toyota EV Plug-in and to be part of the R&D project. Visit and learn how,” says Vita DeMarchi, co-founder of CuseCar.

“NYSERDA is proud to support this effort that will encourage greater use of plug-in hybrid vehicles and help Syracuse reduce both our reliance on fossil fuels and our emissions levels. Through our work with CuseCar and with support from the federal government, we have worked both to reduce emissions and expand the infrastructure needed to operate alternative fuel vehicles,” says Patrick Bolton, senior manager of transportation for NYSERDA. “We are grateful for past federal support from the U.S. Department of Energy and to our entire congressional delegation for furthering our efforts to make New York’s environment cleaner for the future, and to all of our partners in this project, including Toyota and Clean Communities, for making this initiative a reality.”

About Clean Communities of CNY

Clean Communities of CNY, established in 1995, is an outreach organization that is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Clean Cities Program, with nearly 90 nationwide coalitions, provides education, funding and project management, specializing in alternative fuels and alternative fueled and hybrid vehicles. The overall goal is to displace the use of petroleum in the transportation sector. For more information, visit or call (315) 278-2061.

About SyracuseCoE

Syracuse Center of Excellence ( accelerates the creation of environmental and energy innovations for a sustainable future, engaging collaborators 200+ companies and institutions to address global challenges in clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality, and water resources. SyracuseCoE members conduct targeted research, demonstrate new technologies, commercialize innovations, and educate the workforce.

About CuseCar

CuseCar is a not-for-profit, community-based, car-sharing organization whose mission is to provide a sustainable transportation program in Onondaga County. Its environmental mission is to reduce vehicle miles traveled in the county, lower the regional carbon footprint, improve air quality, and assist in developing innovative green energy fuel distribution throughout Syracuse and the county. Learn more at

About Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion. Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of nearly 1,500 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers that sold more than 1.77 million vehicles in 2009. Toyota directly employs nearly 34,000 people in the United States, and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion. For more information about Toyota, visit,, or

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