Toyota's Prius Plug-in hybrid vehicle will start an international trial, with 20 cars heading to the UK next year.
With its increased electric-only range, the Prius Plug-in will significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions over the current vehicle it will emit just 59g/km of CO2.
The Plug-in's lithium-ion batteries can be recharged from an external electrical supply, such as a domestic mains socket, as well as by the car's internal hybrid drive system.
Electric-only driving is combined with a medium to long-range driving capacity by switching to the Prius's conventional petrol-electric hybrid system.
International trials begin in 2010
Around 600 Prius Plug-ins will be distributed across Japan, Europe and the United States in the first six months of 2010. The UK will get 20 vehicles, which will arrive by the summer.
The UK-bound cars will be leased to Government ministries, local authorities and other bodies such as electric companies, universities and research agencies. The data from these organisations will be collected and used in the development of a national charging infrastructure.
Toyota's executive vice-president, Takeshi Uchiyamada, said: The Prius Plug-in represents the most practical way of increasing the use of electricity for personal transport. Now we need to investigate market acceptance of this new technology.'
Toyota expects to begin consumer sales of the car within two years.
Mitsubishi i MiEV goes on trial, too
Mitsubishi has handed over 25 of its electric-only i MiEVs for trial in the UK.
The cars have been given to independent drivers to test over the next 12 months.
The trial is part of a project organised by the Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Vehicle Demonstrators consortium.