PLUG OK license plate
SF Bay Area Gets a Second PHEV
Apr 12, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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We've taken delivery of a converted Prius from EnergyCS. In October, 2003, I became one of the first '04 Prius owners in Northern California. Ever since, my white car has been ready with its "Plug OK" license plates. Now it's finally a plug-in hybrid. (See updated specs at what used to be called "PRIUS+ Fact Sheet" and is now the renamed, updated and cut from 4 to 2 pages "Conversions Fact Sheet" including all potential sources:­conversions-factsheet.pdf).

I'm starting to show it to entrepreneurs, civic leaders and high-wealth individuals who can't wait to own the world's cleanest, most technologically advanced, unlimited range vehicle. As the world's first individual, non-institutional owner of a plug-in hybrid, I could be the guinea pig for requests to utilities and state agencies for PHEV categories for electric rates, metering and other issues. I can provide its designers with customer feedback about features and usability. And I can start to hope for a rooftop photovoltaic system!

Last weekend I drove from Southern California back to the Bay Area, essentially as a normal hybrid except for the first 50 miles of the trip. These were the car's last miles of 36,000 at a lifetime average of 48.5 MPG.

How things have changed! I used to dread a day filled with short trips -- each time the engine warmup would kill the Prius MPG. Now I love those local errands -- they're mostly all-electric. In my first two days, I drove 130.71 miles on 1.102 gallons of gasoline. That's 118 MPG. These phenomenal numbers included an airport run with about 40 miles of 65 MPH highway driving.

Yesterday, I made a round-trip from the Peninsula to downtown San Francisco: 64 miles, including about 55 at highways speeds (North on flat Rte. 101, back on hilly I-280). Bottom line: 81.4 MPG.

Last night, as I pulled into my garage, I asked myself, "I'm eager to get home. Should I take the time to go around the back of my car and plug in or just go straight inside?" I decided to make the effort. (Just for fun, I clocked it: 9 seconds extra.)

My trip yesterday included 98 Watt-hours/mile or 6.2 kWhr out of the battery. (When I get a small line meter, I'll know about Watt-hours into the battery.) This all shows that 100+ MPG is possible with an incomplete after-market conversion that can't be all-electric over 34 MPH. Toyota could do much better! We'll be posting more performance information in the coming weeks.

Monday we put what I'd call as "tasteful but very visible" signs on the sides and back -- see photos of the car, the display (and the battery pack before it was sealed shut) at­photos.html. We're developing a series of modular handouts for our two CalCars PHEVs and for the Seattle and other future cars. You can see that flyer, headlined "This car gets more than 100 miles per gallon (plus electricity) at­calcars-modular-edrive.pd.

If you're in the Bay Area, your first viewing opportunity is this Saturday at the meeting of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Electric Auto Association, 10am to 12:30pm at Hewlett-Packard, 3000 Hanover St., Palo Alto, CA, building 20 level A, Auditorium (you'll also see the new WrightSpeed high-performance car there). Then there's our public conversion in San Mateo April 22-23 at the Maker Faire­makerfaire.html. Keep an eye on­events.html for other events.

Thanks to Pete Nortman, Greg Hanssen, Seth Seaberg and the entire EDrive team for making this possible and to Ron Gremban and the CalCars volunteers for starting it all!

This is the world's seventh Prius converted to a PHEV. For those who like history, in order they are: 1. CalCars PRIUS+ by Ron Gremban and CalCars team, Fall 2004 2. EnergyCS by Greg Hanssen, Pete Nortman and team, March 2005 3. Energy CS/Clean-Tech by EnergyCS, May 2005 4. Hymotion by Hymotion, February 2006 5. Electro Energy by CalCars and Electro Energy, March 2006 6. South Coast Air Quality Management District by EnergyCS, March 2006 7. CalCars by EnergyCS, April 2006 Coming soon: 8. Ryan Fulcher of Seattle Electric Auto Association by Maker Faire team, April 21-22 9-10. Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Cityof Santa Monica by EnergyCS

We encourage and promote all aftermarket conversion efforts as a way to get more PHEVs on the roads, increase awareness, demonstrate the market and motivate automakers to build production-line PHEVs.

While the non-profit California Cars Initiative and the for-profit companies described below cooperate in many ways, there is no financial relationship between the organizations. This vehicle is part of EnergyCS's contract with South Coast Air Quality Management District (for details see­group/­calcars-news/­message/­41). We paid full costs and provided technical services as our match to the contract.

Here's how the companies fit together: the engineering company EnergyCS and integrator Clean-Tech jointly formed EDrive Sysems, LLC to deliver retail after-market installed conversions. All the cars built to date come from EnergyCS--you won't see EDrive cars until they are sold to the public. You can get on a waiting list at­news.html.

Finally, here's an edited explanation from Pete Nortman of EnergyCS about the relationship between the British company Amberjac and EnergyCS (this clarifies the April 5 news story at­group/­calcars-news/­message/­346.

(1) Like EnergyCS' pioneering work with Calcars in California, EnergyCS and Amberjac Projects (AJP) worked together to create the first PHEV Prius in the UK and the EEU last summer. AJPs contract with EnergyCS is for a PHEV Prius prototype kit. To date, EnergyCS has supplied AJP with components and instructions to do a preliminary prototype demonstration vehicle, which AJP has demonstrated successfully on multiple occasions..

(2) The collaborative effort between AJP and EnergyCS on this prototype is leading to additional opportunities for EnergyCS and AJP to work together on additional projects in the realm of battery systems development and PHEV market research.

(3) EnergyCS and Amberjac Projects, and the principals of EDrive all agreed last April that AJP would be the European distributor for EDrive when a product is released.

(4) EnergyCS has US and international patents pending on its PHEV conversion technology for the Prius and its Battery Management System, and EnergyCS is the sole owner of the PHEV IP developed here. Until the patents are granted, the technology will remain proprietary and a trade secret of EnergyCS. Ultimately, EDrive will be a licensee of the IP for its market.

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