Hybrids in Rural Areas - Pilot Test Results

By switching to self-charging hybrid and plugin hybrid, consumers found a 35% reduction in fuel costs and a 22% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Toyota Ireland partnership with Local Link Donegal reveals positive results 

Month-long Local Link Donegal cleaner transport pilot programme reveals positive results – changing to Hybrid Electric / Plugin Hybrid vehicles could deliver a 35% reduction in fuel costs and a 22% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Toyota Ireland provided self-charging Hybrid-electric and Plug-in Hybrid vehicle models for inclusion in pilot covering North West Donegal, Sligo, Cavan and Monaghan.

Partnership reinforces Toyota’s commitment to being ‘Built for a Better World’.

In 2017, Local Link Donegal (transport coordinator for the HSE) made a conscious decision to review all methods of transport being used throughout the organisation and establish a cleaner transport strategy.

As part of this review, Local Link teamed up with a number of partners including Toyota Ireland, SEAI, and the Department of Transport with the objective of benchmarking cleaner and innovative transport solutions for the future.

Pilot Programme:

The pilot program, launched in February 2018, saw Toyota Ireland supply self-charging Hybrid electric and Plug-in Hybrid vehicles for drivers to test in real world conditions. The aim was to establish what advantages they may have when compared to traditional diesel vehicles, in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions reduction.

This is the first pilot of its kind in Ireland where government agencies and private industry have combined their expertise to help identify the building blocks for a cleaner transport strategy.

The results:

Data collected during the pilot has established Local link Donegal could reduce their fleet Co2 emissions by an impressive 31 tonnes per annum by switching from diesel vehicles to Hybrid Electric and Plugin Hybrid vehicles – as well as significantly reducing Nitrous Oxide emissions.

The overall results demonstrated a 22% reduction in Co2 emissions and a 35% reduction in fuel costs when diesel vehicles were swapped for hybrid electric vehicles.

This aligns with Toyota Ireland’s brand promise of Built For A Better World, by helping create a better environment and cleaner air for our children’s children and clearly demonstrates the real-world benefits of hybrid.

Seen from left to right, at the ‘Let’s Talk Cleaner, Greener Transport’ conference in Donegal: 

Ray Maloney, Assistant Technical Manager Toyota & Lexus Ireland, Mark Teevan, Strategy, Innovation & Corporate Affairs Director, Toyota Ireland, John McBrearty, Chairperson Local Link, Cathal Ryan, Fleet Sales Manager Toyota Ireland, Brendan Kelly, Dealer Principal in Kellys Toyota Letterkenny

Real world research:

To make the program as “real world” as possible, the vehicles were tested in some of Ireland’s most challenging conditions. A Local Link area serving Letterkenny University Hospital was chosen which covers North West Donegal, Sligo, Cavan and Monaghan – one of the largest routes in the country. Drivers on this route take over 1.2million kilometres in journeys every year.

During the test period the vehicles completed a combined distance in excess of 50,000kms in varying driving conditions including ice, snow, rain and extreme cold. They travelled both long and short journeys on all road types, from national motorways to mountainous country lanes and everything in between.

Speaking on the announcement, Toyota Ireland’s chief executive Steve Tormey said: 

“Toyota Ireland is delighted to be working with Local Link Donegal on this very important pilot programme. We’re continuously looking for innovative ways to communicate the benefits of Toyota Hybrid technology to the Irish market, and this pilot has afforded us that opportunity."

"We have long believed in the ability of Hybrid technology with regard to reducing emissions and these findings now confirm that Hybrid electric cars are truly a better way, that Hybrid is suitable for urban and rural conditions and that there is a real environmental benefit available to us in Ireland right now”.

Speaking about the programme, Fiona O’Shea from the Local Link Donegal said: 

“We’re delighted to have Toyota on-board for this initiative as they’re the natural fit in terms of providing cleaner driving alternatives that are still suitable for Local Link’s extensive driving range. This partnership was established as part of our plan to reduce Local Link Donegal’s overall transport service emissions and the use of hybrid electric cars is integral to this. The positive findings of the pilot will inform a clear road map for cleaner transport alternatives in all our Local Link regions, over the coming years.”