Los Angeles Buys Fleet of Toyota Prius Hybrid-Electric Cars for City Use
TORRANCE, Calif., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In one of the largest fleet transactions yet for its environmentally responsible Prius hybrid electric-gas car, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., has delivered over 130 units thus far to the City of Los Angeles.
"The Prius fleet agreement with the City of Los Angeles is an important step in Toyota's continuing efforts to reduce the environmental impact automobiles have in major cities," said Ken Camarillo, TMS fleet field manager. "We look forward to expanding fleet sales of our hybrid technology in Los Angeles and many other major cities throughout the U.S."
The agreement to purchase the vehicles began early in 2002 with an original order of 23 units. Los Angeles bought the Prius fleet for use by a variety of municipal agencies, such as parking enforcement. The vehicles have proven so popular that the city increased the size of their Prius fleet to its current level and has plans to purchase more units in the future. The City of New York currently has the largest fleet.
"The fleet purchase of the Toyota Prius is a significant step toward achieving our goal of having one of the cleanest, most-efficient big-city fleets in the nation," said Jim Bonnville, Los Angeles director of fleet services.
As part of the transaction, the University of Toyota's Technical and Body Training Development department provided a training course for Los Angeles city service technicians on Prius operation and proper maintenance of the hybrid system. The training course was developed by TMS Technical and Body Training Development Manager, John Saia, and Toyota Technical Training Administrator, Natae Cutler. A specialist in the Toyota Hybrid System, Cutler also conducted the course.
"As a result of the City of Los Angeles technician training, we've created a new 'off-the-shelf' curriculum package that can be used to train Prius fleet customer technicians in other regions," said John Saia. The new training package will be available to Toyota regions in early 2003.
"The training program conducted by the University of Toyota was an invaluable tool in properly training our service technicians to ensure proper and safe maintenance of our Prius fleet," said Richard Coulson, automotive supervisor for training safety and compliance, City of Los Angeles.
Introduced in 1997, the Prius is the world's first mass-produced hybrid electric-gas vehicle. Prius is a technological breakthrough in combining an efficient, powerful, gasoline engine and a clean, quiet electric motor. It automatically switches between the gasoline engine and electric motor, depending on driving needs and is ideal for city use. And, because the gasoline engine recharges an onboard battery pack, Prius never needs to be plugged in.
Configured as a roomy five-passenger sedan, Prius has an EPA fuel economy rating of 52 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway. It also is certified as a super ultra low emission vehicle (SULEV).
Government agencies across the nation have chosen Toyota's Prius hybrid sedan for clean, efficient transportation. In addition to the cities of Los Angeles and New York, other city and state government agencies that have chosen Prius include California, Washington, Houston, Oregon, San Francisco, Austin, Florida DEP, Nevada, Colorado, Denver, Missouri, San Antonio, and Maine. Even smaller towns such as Vail, Colo. and Mesquite, Tex. have ordered the Toyota hybrid.
Worldwide, Toyota has sold more than 100,000 Prius hybrid sedans, and also sells hybrid luxury sedans, four-wheel-drive minivans and commuter buses in Japan. Prius went on sale in the United States in July 2000. Since then, more than 40,000 units have been sold or leased to retail and fleet customers. Toyota sold more than 20,000 Prius in the United States in 2002.
Nine out of 10 hybrid vehicles on the road today are Toyotas.
For further information please visit www.toyota.com .
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