Toyota signed an agreement with China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) on October 28 on jointly carrying out field trials of the Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in China.
To prepare for the 2012 release of the plug-in Prius, Toyota has been testing pre-production models in its major markets including Japan, the US, and Europe. A plan for trials in China was affirmed earlier this year when the PHEV was showcased at the Beijing Auto Show, but no real progress has been made until now.
Toyota had built the second generation Prius (non-plug-in hybrid) in Changchun, Jilin, in partnership with FAW between 2005-2009. Production of the third generation, on which the plug-in model was base, by FAW-Toyota was originally scheduled to begin this year, but is delayed due to a number of factors (see: Toyota Delays Production of Third Generation Prius in China).
CATARC, based in Tianjin, is a government-sponsored tech center supporting the making of official regulations and policies for the auto industry in China. It operates the controversial vehicle safety rating system, C-NCAP.