It will be at least a year before the new Prius goes on sale, but you may end up seeing them in San Jose before that. Toyota has decided to let city employees here and in Berkeley test drive the new model for several months before putting the cars on market. Also participating in the test run will be employees of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center.
The decision to use the Bay Area as a testing ground is based on the way the car is designed for short, urban commutes. It gets only 13 miles out of each charge before converting into a standard gasoline operated automobile. Local employees with short commutes will therefore be an ideal test population for the vehicle.