RALEIGH, NC – Raleigh, N.C., has unveiled its new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle — a Toyota Prius that promises 100 miles to the gallon and greatly reduced tailpipe emissions, according to newsobserver.com. The city is testing out the Prius, purchased for $21,298 and modified with a battery with six times the capacity of a production Prius at an additional cost of $2,100. It's part of the city's pledge to cut fossil fuel consumption by 20 percent over the next five years.

The PHEV’s enlarged battery lets it run primarily on electricity for local commutes, while retaining a gasoline engine for acceleration and long distances. Mayor Charles Meeker said the City is excited about the use of existing hybrid technology to lower fuel costs, clean the city’s air, and reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. The City’s PHEV was one of four at the media conference. The others were the property of members of the Plugin Hybrid Coalition of the Carolinas. The coalition’s goal is to encourage manufacturers to use available technology to take the PHEV from prototype to mass production for nationwide consumption. The other PHEV belonged to Progress Energy, which is aggressively marketing the hybrids as a way of using off-peak electricity to address the nation’s energy needs and Advanced Energy, which is a Raleigh nonprofit resource for innovative and market-based approached to energy issues. The City is also seeking a grant from the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) to defray the purchase costs of three diesel hybrid electric buses. The FTA Section 5309 capital grant the City is seeking would total $802,000. The City’s share of the purchase would be $923,000. The City Council voted unanimously Nov. 7, to set a budget to purchase the buses in anticipation of receiving the federal grant.