PLUG OK license plate
White Bird: New Prius Conversion in Washington's Chelan County
Oct 30, 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.
Want more? Become a subscriber to CalCars-News:

The 19th conversion of a Toyota Prius into a plug-in hybrid has been completed by a group in Washington State, as described below. This initiative flows out of a group of people in Wenatchee and Chelan County (encouraged by plentiful low-cost hydropower and strong interest). A year ago, CalCars' Felix Kramer and Ron Gremban and UC Davis Prof. Andy Frank brought our car to a conference there. Then last spring, after Ryan Fulcher brought his converted car back from the Maker Faire­makerfaire.html, the technical/electric-vehicle people from Seattle all joined forces to make this happen.

We've added this car to our list at­where-phevs-are.html.

At­wiki/­WhiteBird, you can see the writeup below with active links plus many photos. (This conversion, while using lead-acid batteries, uses different designs and hardware than we're developing for the "Do-It-Yourself" kit that Ron Gremban described in his Oct 19 update at­calcars-news/­554.html.)

"WhiteBird" is the name of the Chelan County's Advanced Vehicle Initiative Prius PHEV conversion which was finished in early October 2006.

Since the unprecedented success of the PHEV conversion of Ryan Fulcher's PriusBlue at the Inaugural Maker Faire last year, with much help from CalCars[1] and the San Francisco EAA[2]. Ryan, a member of the Seattle EVA[3] and a contributor to the EAA-PHEV web site[4], has been furthering the cause for PHEVs throughout the Pacific N.W. Through these public relations efforts, Ron Johnson-Rodreguez, head of Economic Development for Eastern Washington State's Chelan County, contacted Steven Lough, president of the Seattle EV Association, and a fruitful working relationship has developed over the last 6 months. After several trips back and forth between Seattle and Wenatchee Washington, plans were set in motion to convert several county Toyota Prius vehicles to PHEV.

Using CAN-View technology from Hybrid Interfaces[5] of Canada, and the very versatile AC-to-DC & DC-to-DC capable charger from Rich Rudman's Manzanita Micro[6] company, and much volunteer help from Seattle EV Association members, Chelan County's Advanced Vehicle Initiative[7], and the Automotive Technology program at Wenatchee Valley College, the first project was put on the road in PHEV mode on October 15th, 2006.

Both the PiPrius vehicles PriusBlue of Ryan Fulcher, and the just-completed Chelan County car, named "CCPort WhiteBird" utilize a PFC40H charger which doubles as a DC-to-DC converter. In DC-DC or run mode the PFC40 is connected between the add-on pack and the Prius OEM pack, thereby maintaining the Prius battery voltage during extended periods of low-speed exclusive (EV-Only) or higher speed enhanced (Mixed-mode) driving. In the system's final configuration, both DC-to-DC "boosting" of the Prius pack, as well as grid charging of the add-on pack are switched automatically. As the CAN-View reads data from the Toyota computer systems, it acts as both user interface and management device to orchestrate various aspects of the PHEV mode's automatic operation.

The Battery Management System (BMS) consist of a Mark 3 Rudman Reg for each of the 15 Genesis lead-acid batteries, which fully protect each battery from over- and under-voltage events. The regs help to direct the charger's actions and are interactive and programmable via a standard serial port (RS232) found on most laptops.

Chelan County's Advanced Vehicle Initiative plans to use WhiteBird for display at events, conferences and festivals in addition to driving to and from meetings in Washington and other county business. In the future, they plan to create a fleet of plug-in hybrid vehicles for lease to potentially use for event shuttles, area tours, rafting shuttles, delivery services. We plan to monitor these vehicles for fuel efficiency, emission reduction, battery capabilities, charging speed, etc.

Contact Ron at info [at] or (509) 663-5159 for more information about this vehicle.

Copyright 2003-09 California Cars Initiative, an activity of the International Humanities Center | Site Map