Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. says 10 Prius plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles are being placed in the SmartGridCity project in Boulder, CO, next March.

The project, a creation of Xcel Energy, will gather data on vehicle-charging patterns, consumer interaction with the Prius plug-in as well as electric companies, and the vehicle’s performance.

“We know that PHVs coupled with smart-charging techniques can reduce carbon emissions,” says Jay Herrmann, regional vice president-Xcel Energy. “Partnerships like this can bring us closer to delivering new solutions that can conserve energy, save natural resources and reduce dependence on foreign oil.”

SmartGridCity is “the first fully functioning smart-grid-enabled city in the world,” and allows participating consumers to remotely control their in-home energy-management devices, Toyota says in a statement.

The University of Colorado at Boulder Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint venture of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Colorado at Boulder, also is part of the research project.

Putting the Prius PHEVs in Boulder allows involved parties to judge the performance of Toyota’s first-generation lithium-ion battery in a high-altitude, cold climate, the auto maker says.

About 150 Prius PHEVs will be put into demonstration fleets early next year in the U.S.

In Strasbourg, France, Toyota is partnering with the government and utility EDF to test 100 Prius PHEVs later this year.

The Prius PHEV is expected to travel on electric power only for about 12 miles (19 km) and can be driven at highway speeds in electric mode, as well. Beyond 12 miles, the car operates in hybrid mode.