A “Plug” for Hybrids

Posted By on April 27, 2006

Prius Plug in
If you’ve given any thought to hybrid vehicles, you most likely have heard discussions or asked questions about possible plug-in versions. The concept is pretty simple — they are normal hybrid vehicles, either series or parallel, that have larger (or more efficient) batteries, a different controller and a charger that plugs into your home electrical system for recharging. Currently there are a few ‘mad scientist’ models being built but nothing commercial from a major automaker. Actually some current hybrids are already capable of doing this with a simple plug and charger … the range, engine off, is about 30 miles. According to experimenters, this range can be increase significantly by adding lithium-ion batteries which will increase electric only range to nearly 100 miles.

Prius Computer readoutThe following NBC clip interviews three guys who decided to give this ‘plug in hybrid’ or PHEV a try. Although the concept is great and it makes sense … it doesn’t necessarily make perfect ‘cents’ according to vehicle manufacturers. The added cost at this particular time might not be ‘sellable.’ (the quoted number to modify a car in such a way was roughly $10K per vehicle) Ouch … that’s an bunch of upfront dollars.

Of course this doesn’t detour hard core hypermilers, environmentalist or those concerned with the unmeasured cost (and future cost) our nation faces to keep imported oil flowing from the middle east. Several ‘vehicle modifiers’ are starting companies that will offer a hybrid conversion service with a plug and believe that the market is ready. (someone even mentioned the possibility of a do-it-yourself kit?) Check out Edrive Systems and CalCars for the latest.

Plug in hybrids news story


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  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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