His Royal Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco, has taken delivery of the first Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid in Europe. The prince will use the Prius Plug-in Hybrid privately and has it on two-month loan from Toyota. Thankfully for the Prince and Toyota, the small principality of Monaco, with just 35 000 inhabitants, has 424 free electric charging stations, making it one of the green leaders in Europe.
Didier Leroy, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe said: “We are proud to deliver our first Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) in Europe to His Serene Highness. We are honoured to continue our long standing partnership to contribute to the environmental and sustainability objectives defined by H.S.H. Prince Albert II.”
The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle, has a more potent 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery instead of the standard 1.3 kWh nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack, and now comes with an onboard battery charger and a charging port for quick top ups. The car is said to run as a pure electric vehicle for 18 km and then revert back to regular Prius operation of electric and combustion engine hybrid drive. Toyota say charging takes an hour and a half using a 240-volt supply.
With a full EV range of only 18 km we wonder if the Prince and his South African born wife, Charleen Whittstock, will even be able to get out of the palace gates. They might be quiet on the social scene for, oh, we dont know, maybe two months.