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Old 01-02-2009, 07:36 AM   #1
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Make your own plug in hybrid

What price glory? What is the payback on another $7 grand dumped into your Prius?????




By REBECCA SMITH and JOHN MURPHY


At the Detroit auto show next month, one of the most highly anticipated new vehicles will be Toyota Motor Corp.'s third-generation Prius hybrid. It features a roomier interior and better gas mileage than the current model, the best-selling hybrid in the world.

But even these advancements aren't good enough for Daniel Sherwood and Paul Guzyk. The two green-minded mechanics have been modifying Toyota's Prius hybrids, which get an impressive 50 miles per gallon, and converting them into plug-in electric vehicles, doubling the fuel efficiency of a car that many people already see as the be-all of fuel economy. They can't wait to do the same to Toyota's newest Prius model.

Messrs. Sherwood and Guzyk are at the forefront of a small but growing automotive insurgency. While Toyota promises to deliver a factory-built, plug-in electric car by late 2009, and General Motors Corp. says it will bring its Chevy Volt plug-in car to market in 2010, impatient mechanics already are making them with off-the-shelf parts.



"I don't know if Toyota meant to do it, but they gave us a car that's easy to hack into and easy to improve," says Mr. Sherwood, an electrical engineer and co-owner with Mr. Guzyk of 3Prong Power Inc., which has set up shop in a defunct Cadillac dealership building in Berkeley, Calif. It charges about $7,000 for the conversions, one of several such shops in California doing such work.

An electric-powered car works essentially like a regular hybrid -- it runs on batteries and has a gasoline engine as well. But electric-powered cars run longer in all-electric mode. Plus, they include an extension cord, so the batteries can be recharged by plugging the car into a 120-volt outlet. Beyond the Prius, some shops are converting the Ford Escape hybrid into a plug-in car.

To convert a Prius, the mechanics add a heavy tray of wheelchair batteries to a tool-storage space beneath the cargo deck at the back of the Prius hatchback. They strengthen the suspension, tweak the electronics and software and -- voila! -- the car that emerges from the shop is a plug-in hybrid, able to run as a pure electric before tapping its gasoline engine. Conversions take a couple days for a well-equipped garage with knowledgeable mechanics.



For some conversions, they are able to add lithium ion batteries that have four times the energy density of lead acid batteries, meaning they'll go four times as long between recharging or, at moderate speeds, before tapping the gasoline engine. Getting those batteries is difficult and, since they're expensive, it can double the cost of a conversion.

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Old 01-03-2009, 06:43 AM   #2
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Yes...what is the payback exactly??
I heard a radio interview with a guy who is an expert on this technology the other day. He was talking about what a dismal failure Toronto has going with their hybrid buses. He says the technology simply does not work.
His conclusion is that once you manufacture and recycle all those batteries,from an environmental footprint perspective,you might as well have been driving a Hummer the whole time.
Seems there is alot of work still to be done with Hybrids....
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:12 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MikeM
Yes...what is the payback exactly??
I heard a radio interview with a guy who is an expert on this technology the other day. He was talking about what a dismal failure Toronto has going with their hybrid buses. He says the technology simply does not work.
His conclusion is that once you manufacture and recycle all those batteries,from an environmental footprint perspective,you might as well have been driving a Hummer the whole time.
Seems there is alot of work still to be done with Hybrids....

I agree. The diesel advances in Europe would seem to make the Hybrid kind useless.
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:25 AM   #4
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Funny how these people think sometimes. Where do they think electricity comes from in America?
Coal, and to a lesser extent natural gas. Wind and hydro are almost noncontributory in the electric grid.

I would venture to say that the increase in electric usage then translated into more coal burned is more pollutant that the CO2 and H2O that comes from a properly functioning car.

For that matter ethanol is less energy dense than gasoline, so it is less efficient, and also all of that fertilizer and diesel fuel required to grow and harvest the corn is more pollutant than gasoline.

Dont get me started on all of theose spend batteries........

just my thoughts
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:51 AM   #5
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I saw a presentation on plug in electrics. According to presenter, the tail pipe emissions from a gas engine are as bad as the dirtiest, nastiest coal fire plant. So if the power used to charge the battery comes from renewables, nuke, or cleaner coal, you are better off with a plug in electric. Go ahead and call your power company and ask them exactly what plant your power comes from. I am sure the will be able to tell you right away.

There wasn’t much discussion about the pollution involved in battery manufacturing or the fact that the batteries are expected to last less than 10 years. When asked about the pay back period, all the presenter could say was “what is the pay back on leather seats”. Right now it is just a feel good option.

The big advancement is going to come with smart meters and what not when you can charge your car during off peak times and then use the batteries to power your house during peak when the car is parked in the garage. Energy storage is the future.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:07 AM   #6
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I saw a presentation on plug in electrics. According to presenter, the tail pipe emissions from a gas engine are as bad as the dirtiest, nastiest coal fire plant. So if the power used to charge the battery comes from renewables, nuke, or cleaner coal, you are better off with a plug in electric. Go ahead and call your power company and ask them exactly what plant your power comes from. I am sure the will be able to tell you right away.


No offense but your presented was either ignorant or lying. Current tail pipe emissions in the US are WAY cleaner than a traditional coal plant.

Renewal power plants? Where am I finding them? I love nukes but try finding a green advocate to back them.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:48 AM   #7
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The example given was a Prius with a 5 kWh battery that would allow the car to go about 40 miles on battery only. So he was saying that approximately 1 gallon of gas would emit the same pollution as 5 kWh of the nastiest coal power. Most power companies have cleaned up their coal by adding scrubbers and what not making the plants much cleaner.

As far as renewable power goes, the power company here has a couple of gas turbines sitting on the land fill right up the road and few others around the state. It isn’t much, but it is a start.

The power company is also trying to get two nukes permitted which I agree is the way to go unless renews can perform a miracle. They also have a coal plant they are fighting to get permitted for the immediate future.
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:46 PM   #8
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What do you think comes out of the "gas" smoke stacks at your power plant? oxygen?
Nuke, wind, solar, or hydro is the way to go. Heck look at france, almost the entire country is run off of nuke power.

By the way, a properly functioning cat converter puts out water, co2, and no. Not much more than that.

Look around and read.....you will see that to make and dispose of a prius is more damaging to the enviornment than a fuel efficiant car.


You cant get away from it, energy comes from somewhere and it makes people feel good about themselves to drive a prius - they think they are doing something for the world. but its all marketing. An electric car charged from your home solar or wind turbine would be the way to go.
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:25 AM   #9
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The whole hydrogen fuel thing is also very similar. Most of our hydrogen comes from fossil fuels and coal. Water electrolysis only accounts for 4% of hydrogen production in the u.s. at the moment and we would need to significantly increase power production (in a clean way) to produce enough to create enough hydrogen to fuel the nation.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:18 AM   #10
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Smile

I find that physics is such a useful discipline. With a basic understanding, you can look at a number of magic solutions and figure out why they haven't happened yet.

Having said that, I think the traditional car is not out of gas so to speak.

With changes in weight, aerodynamics, energy recovery, diesel engines, improved fuel distribution and the like, I see us getting 50-60 MPG from regular cars in the not too distant future.


If you don' t think this is significant, think how much a cut of 4% in driving has impacted gas prices here in the US.

Imagine a cut of 25% or so in demand for gas???

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