How can I Give my Prius a Plug?


Happy plug-in Prius Monday. Both the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle give the converted plug-in Prius glowing reviews in this morning’s papers.

The Wall Street Journal tests a plug-in Prius with a battery pack from A123 Systems. Ric Fulop, co-founder of A123 Systems tells the WSJ that his company is looking to make plug-in conversion systems available to individuals for the Prius or Ford Escape early next year.

A123 acquired plug-in conversion company Hymotion and the combined company has been doing conversions for clients such as Google and the state of California. For individuals, Fulop says that a system that can extend the electric-only range of a Prius by 40 miles will cost about $10,000, and a 20-mile system about half that. Check out the video clip:

The Chronicle does a test drive of a plug-in Prius owned by Felix Kramer, founder of nonprofit California Cars Initiative. Here’s Kramer’s own write up on his web site. Kramer’s plug-in was converted by Energy CS, in Monrovia, Calif. and cost about $15,000 to convert.

Hybrids-Plus in Boulder, Colorado converted the plug-in that Dave is documenting, and the company gives prices of $ 24,000 for the PHEV-15, and $ 32,500 for the PHEV-30. That’s steep!

Here’s more how-to info if you’re interested in spending some serious cash for a conversion.



I couldn’t understand some parts of this article , but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.


I happened to be taking a cab ride in a Prius a few days back and asked the cabbie about any cost-savings in using the fuel efficient Prius. Apparently not such a good selection for cab companies as they require frequent repairs at high mileage, have expensive and sometimes hard to find parts. I wonder if the energy lost in repairs and carbon emissions occurring during part transportation actually offset the carbon emission reductions in using the car in the first place.

Jim Beyer

Given the cost of A123 batteries on eBay, and the amount of energy storage needed to Power a Prius for 40 miles (about 8kW-hr), $10,000 seems to be a very low number. Current eBay prices are about $4 per watt-hr. Something doesn’t add up here…

There a huge amount of work to be done to figure out what the optimal PHEV configuration should be. If one pays for a 40-mile PHEV and much of that extra storage is poorly utilized, then the consumer loses. Similar judgment calls are need for more technical areas as max. current output, recharge rates, etc.

Jim Beyer

Plug-ins have the potential in making a greater difference in our oil use in particular and energy use in general, than any other cleantech technology being examined today.

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