French energy supplier EDF and Toyota on Wednesday announced a “large-scale demonstration” of plug-in hybrid vehicles in Strasbourg, France using an “innovative charging infrastructure”.

The two firms said about a hundred units of a next generation PHV (likely the upcoming plug-in version of Toyota’s recently redesigned Prius hybrid, though that could not be confirmed) with lithium-ion batteries would be leased to selected customers in the Strasbourg area from the end of 2009, for three years.

This project has received financial support from the research fund managed by the French environment and energy management agency ADEME following a call for projects on low-emitting vehicles.

Toyota and EDF have been trialling plug-in hybrids here in the UK. This new programme is part of a global Toyota project that will also be deployed in Japan and the US from the end of 2009.

Toyota said its main objective was to investigate further the technology and performance of the plug-in hybrids while EDF said it would study different operational options for the charging infrastructure.

“The joint goal is to broaden consumers’ understanding and acceptance, in preparation for broad commercialisation in the future,” the pair said in a statement.

European plug-in road trials started in France in autumn 2007 and were expanded to the UK last year.

The vehicles will use an innovative charging system able to ensure safe charging, communication between the plug and the vehicle, identification of the vehicle and invoicing of energy.

For this latest demonstration, EDF and subsidiary Electricité de Strasbourg (ES) will participate in a technical and financial partnership with everyone involved which will set up several hundred charging points at users’ homes, at the facilities of partners, in public parking lots and on public roads.

Toyota, EDF, announce plug-in trials