Jun 20, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
It's great to be reaching both the Popular Science audience and Popular Mechanics in their July issues. NOTE: Toyota's time-frame in this magazine comes from a statement given many weeks before their more recent announcements, which imply both a greater commitment and possibly a longer time-frame. In fact, we think they "could" offer PHEVs in much less than three years.
From the July 26 Popular Mechanics, page 26: 150-MPG Lithium-Ion Hybrids Photo of an EnergyCS Prius with a yellow extension cord plugged in
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are still novel, but they're far from experimental -- at least that's the pitch from companies such as California-based EDrive, which delivered its first PHEV this spring. EDrive takes a regular hybrid like a Toyota Prius, replaces the nickel-metal-hydride battery with a higher-capacity lithium-ion battery, and adds a new power control computer. An overnight charge fills the Prius's new battery, draining about $1 of electricity from the grid and allowing you to average 100 mg at 65 mph, and 150 mpg if you stay under 55 mph. When the battery is depleted, usually after 50 miles or so, the car runs like a standard Prius. EDrive's conversion will void your warranty, and Toyota says it could offer plug-in vehicles in "as little as three years." One of the main issues Toyota is trying to address is the high cost of lithium-ion batteries. EDrive's aftermarket conversion goes for a whopping $12,000. The nonprofit group CalCars.org is working with the Electric Auto Association to develop a do-it-yourself kit for under $5000.