How to Eco-Pimp Your Prius With a Plug

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For those of you who already own your own hybrid, and weren’t tempted by these 6 electric cars you can buy right now, we’ve gotta tip for you. Give your old hybrid a plug. While getting 50 miles per gallon in your Toyota Prius surely feels good, with gas prices rapidly approaching $4 a gallon how does 100 mpg sound? You can get that with a not-so-simple conversion into a plug-in hybrid. Below is a list of companies who will pimp your Prius with a plug for better mileage and less carbon emissions.

Company/Location Cost Battery-Type Applicable Car Models
Poulsen Hybrid Shelton, Conn. $3300 for purchase and $600 for installation 6 pc. 12V 120 Amp hours lead/acid deep cycle, or 4 KWh Lithium-ion battery pack (Expected available from several sources by mid 2008) Almost any gas car
Hymotion San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, Boston and Washing D.C. $9995 – includes 3 year standard warranty and installation A123 Nanophosphate Li-Ion battery Toyota Prius ’04-’08
Hybrid Plus Boulder, Colo. $21,600 – $36,150 for conversion (kit and installation, car not included) 26650-size Li-Ion cells Toyota Prius ’04-’08, Ford Escape Hybrid, Mercury Marines 05-’07, Mazda ’08
EDrive/EnergyCS Monrovia, Calif. $10,000-$12,000 lithium-ion battery Toyota Prius ’04-’08
OEMtek Milpitas, Calif. $12,500 Lithium Phosphate 18650 Cells Toyota Prius ’04-’08, Ford Escape Hybrid
Plug-In Conversions Power, Calif. $9,750, $14,900, or $19,750 (dependent on battery pack size) Nilar NiMH batteries Toyota Prius ’04-’08
Plug-In Supply Petaluma, Calif. $6,095 plus shipping, installation $1,200-$3,000 Lead Acid, LiPeFO4 when available Toyota Prius ’04-’08

But we’ve got to warn you. Even with skyrocketing gas prices, investing in a PHEV conversion isn’t likely to save you much money. If we make the math super simple and say a kit and installation costs $10,000 and it allows you to make your 50 mile, round trip daily commute without any gas (which would normally take 1 gallon of $4 gas in your Prius) it would still take you about 10 years to get your money back.

CalCars, a non-profit startup formed by entrepreneurs, engineers, environmentalists and consumers, has lots more information on how you convert your car and how plug-in hybrids work. Also, if you do have a plug-in hybrid make sure to add it to their Google map which tracks PHEVs all over the U.S. and Europe.

Meanwhile, if you don’t have a Prius and $10,000 to shell out but do have a camera and 90 second to say why you want a plug-in, make a video and send it to Google.

13 Comments

John Lopez

You can get an Enginer PHEV kit for a prius for about US$2500. A quater of the cost of Hymotion. It is very simple, easy to install, can be self-installed, can be bought by overseas customers and delivered by sea cargo and it does not hack into the Prius brain. http://www.enginer.us

Alex

I’m with Tuto, I only want the capability to 110V charge my stock battery for the next day’s drive. I use up about 3 to 4 power bars of the battery on the final 3 miles on the way home. I average city/fwy of 49 mpg. If I can top off my battery pack I should be able to get low to mid 50s easily.

Tuto

I only want to plug the hybrid to charge its current batteries ! That way I have a full charge on the batteries next day.

Eideard

What I would do for ~$10K if I was still working and not retired – is convert my old pickup to diesel.

There are much smaller turbo-diesels available as a crate engine for ~5K + install that would decrease my fuel consumption a minimum of 50%. Same torque, same performance levels.

But, I drive so little now that I’m retired it doesn’t make economic sense. If I was still rolling around northern NM for the subcontractor I last worked for – the payback would be 8 years tops.

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