Toyota is making it possible for some owners of its plug-in hybrid vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint even further. The automaker has launched a new initiative called the Clean Assist Program, which enables Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime owners in California to match 100 percent of their charging activity with renewable electricity.
As Toyota explains, plugging a vehicle in means getting energy from the grid. And while the grid does pull some energy from solar farms and wind converters, it still mostly gets energy from coal and other fossil fuel-based sources. The Clean Assist Program gives people a way to offset their electricity use whether they're plugged in at home, at their workplace or anywhere else.
It won't cost Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime owners to participate in the initiative, but they'd have to opt in through the Toyota app. That's because the automaker will use the app to track the amount of electricity participants use during charging, so it can generate or buy an equivalent amount of California-sourced Renewable Energy Certificates. These RECs are part of an EPA program certifying that a vehicle is charged using renewable energy.
Toyota sends evidence that the charging activity is matched with zero-carbon electricity to the California Air Resources Board to earn Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits that can be sold. The revenue will then used to promote vehicle electrification and to purchase more RECs. Clean Assist's goal is "to reduce California transportation GHG emissions, including through the use of renewable electricity to charge EVs," the automaker said in its release. While the program comes at no cost to the owner, they can opt out anytime they want for any reason.
Those intrerested can watch Toyota's video explainer for Clean Assist below, courtesy of Autoblog.