Dec 21, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
NY State has budgeted $10 million to convert up to 600 vehicles in its Toyota/Ford/Honda hybrid fleet (see http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/494.html) Now Hybrids Plus, a Colorado company that has previously been working on Prius conversions (using A123 Systems nano-lithium batteries) is the first to announce that its contract award -- for a Ford Escape Hybrid.
We expect further announcements soon from other companies and from the state. At the EDTA conference in November, NYSERDA Program Manager Richard Drake described the bid results. NYS received 16 proposals from 9 teams, 8 for Prius, 6 for Escape, 2 for Civic. We don't know the names of the six winniners, but more than one company will be working on the Escape. (Separately from this program, Hymotion already has added an additional battery to the Ford Escape Hybrid, though we haven't heard of any deliveries and don't yet have any independent reports of performance.)
Hybrids Plus didn't wait for the award to get started. And in the honorable tradition of the original engineers who enabled the Prius "EV button," the CalCars first PRIUS+ conversion, and the EAA-PHEV "Do-It-Yourself" Prius project currently underway, it will be making much of its "reverse engineering" discoveries available online "Open-Source-Style" to experimenters -- and in this case to its competition. At http://www.eaa-phev.org/wiki/Escape_PHEV_TechInfo you can see photos and information posted by Davide Andrea of Hybrids Plus about physical and wiring characteristics of the existing hybrid battery. (This is the same website where we and others are posting information about all hybrid conversion projects. You can see where existing converted Priuses are at http://www.calcars.org/where-phevs-are.html.)
Ford has not joined DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, GM and Nissan in announcing any plans to develop PHEVs. (See http://www.calcars.org/carmakers.html.) CalCars' six-month effort ended with Bill Ford saying "We have nothing to announce today, but yes we are very keenly looking at it, and working with that technology." (See http://www.calcars.org/news-archive.html for Ford postings in May 2006.) We continue to attempt through multiple channels to persuade the company to either build a PHEV version of its own hybrids, or work with one of several companies that have approached Ford since then.
Here's the press release from Hybrids Plus.
Hybrids Plus, Inc. to Convert a Ford Escape Hybrid Electric Vehicle to a Plug-in for New York State Fleet PHEV Technology Initiative
BOULDER, CO [December 20, 2006] - The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded Hybrids Plus, Inc., working in partnership with ShurePower, Inc., a contract to convert a Ford Escape hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) to a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. This project, as part of the New York State Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Technology Initiative, is proving the viability of PHEV technology and the related environmental benefits when applied to the sport utility vehicle (SUV). The major benefit of converting an HEV to a PHEV is increased reliance on clean electric power and significantly improved gasoline mileage per gallon. This increase yields a lower fuel and operating cost, reduced CO2 emissions for lower environmental impact, and reduced dependence on foreign oil sources. After converting the Ford Escape Hybrid the PHEV conversion kit will undergo testing and qualification for deployment in the New York State-owned vehicle fleet, and Hybrids Plus will be positioned to offer PHEV conversions to NYSERDA and other owners of hybrid SUV models, a major market in the USA.
"New York State seeks to accelerate the adoption and use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the State fleet and as personal vehicles. We, at NYSERDA, are pleased to work with Hybrids Plus to convert the Ford Escape Hybrid to plug-in service," said Peter R. Smith, NYSERDA president and CEO. He also noted that "five other vehicles are being converted for testing and evaluation before potentially moving on to the other 400-plus hybrid units already in the State fleet."
"Converting HEVs to PHEVs helps minimize the impact of transportation on the environment. Bringing plug-in conversion technology to SUV Hybrids promises to produce even more environmentally friendly vehicles in the future," said Carl Lawrence, president of Hybrids Plus.
"PHEV development is a promising new technology that will reduce petroleum consumption and associated emissions from the transportation sector. Our modular components can be used to quickly install weather-proof charging outlets in parking lots and wherever else PHEVs are parked," stated Jeff Kim, Chief Operating Officer, ShurePower, Inc.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a public benefit corporation created in 1975 by the New York State Legislature to promote research and development and environmental protection activities. For more information on NYSERDA and its programs, visit www.nyserda.org or call 1-866-NYSERDA
ShurePower, of Rome, NY, with offices in Portland, Oregon and Washington, DC, will assist Hybrids Plus in the evaluation and testing of the conversion. Offering tremendous economic and environmental advantage, ShurePower presently deploys Truck Stop Electrification Technologies-a plug-in infrastructure at truck stops, rest areas, travel plazas, warehouses, and truck depots which provides the electricity needs of long haul drivers without having to idle engines. For more information, visit www.shurepower.com.
Hybrids Plus, based in Boulder, Colorado, is one of a very few United States corporations dedicated to the conversion of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The company launched its first prototype conversion of a Toyota Prius for the State of Colorado Office of Energy Management in September 2006. Presently the firm focuses on converting HEV vehicles for: government entities, utility companies, corporate and industrial fleets, non-profit organizations, and consumers. The result is a vehicle that can efficiently 'plug in, charge up, and drive on(tm).' For more information, visit www.hybrids-plus.com.
Contact Information: Hybrids Plus, Ann Colcord, colcord@..., www.hybrids-plus.com 303-444-0569 ShurePower, Jeff Kim, jeff.shurepower@..., www.shurepower.com 503-892-7345 NYSERDA, Ray Hull, rwh@..., www.nyserda.org , 518-862-1090, x3356