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Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid registrations begin on Earth Day

Toyota is to open initial registration for its long awaited plug-in hybrid this Friday April 22, the Japanese automaker announced April 19.

Consumers in the US will be able to register for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle (Prius PHV) using a new online ordering system set to go live Friday, which is also Earth Day.

By registering, consumers will be given first access to the online ordering system which allows them to configure their vehicle and track their order through production, distribution and delivery when production starts later this year.

The plug-in Prius, which can be charged using a regular household socket and can manage around 21 kilometers on electric power, is set to be launched in spring next year.

Unlike electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus, it contains a regular gas engine alongside the electric motor which kicks in when the batteries are depleted.

It will be offered first in 15 launch states - Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington - before a full US rollout in 2013.

Deliveries in Japan and Europe are reported to also be scheduled for 2012, although the automaker hasn't confirmed exact dates.

For drivers of other electric vehicles in the US, Earth Day brings another nice surprise from charging station provider Coulomb.

The company, which operates some 3,800 charging systems across the US, is giving away free ChargePass charging cards as part of the Earth Day celebrations, in an offer valid through the rest of April.

To apply for a card, drivers should visit the promotion's page at http://www.mychargepoint.net/earthday/

Toyota Prius Plug-in registration page: http://www.toyota.com/plugin