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How CalCars Green-Tuned an '04 Prius into a PRIUS+ Plug-In Hybrid!
NOTE: Much of the information on this page is at this point out of date.
See the five URLs in the box for current information.

See also:

We've taken this well-designed, highly popular advanced vehicle and souped it up -- or more accurately, "green-tuned" it!

Add batteries and grid-charging, and you get PRIUS+, a "plug-in" hybrid (PHEV). That means no gas when you do your errands on local streets at 35mph. On the highway, it runs just like any other Prius, with the gasoline engine doing most of the work -- and the extra batteries kicking in to improve performance at ALL speeds.

We're making PRIUS+ happen. We now have three working converted prototypes (both described in Fact Sheet above, shown in photos and here):

  • The Calcars first proof-of-concept: (100+ mpg plus electricity, 10-mile electric range, now with temporary lead-acid battery pack, soon to be replaced by nickel metal-hydride batteries).
  • Two EDrive/EnergyCS prototypes: (100+ mpg plus electricity, 30-mile range, with lithium-ion batteries.

We believe that converting a small number of Priuses is the quickest, most cost-effective way to get people talking about PHEVs' viability and benefits -- and support other PHEV development efforts.

With annual sales volumes now exceeding 100,000, over 10,000 enthusiastic Prius owners and many others are having excited discussions online. PRIUS+ can demonstrate driver interest in PHEVs. We are also working (with our for-profit integration partners) to offer installed "conversions," first for Toyota Prius, probably followed by Ford Escape and other forthcoming hybrids. Our goal is to encourage Toyota and other automakers to supply the market for PHEVs.

The latest answers to: How & When Can I Get a PRIUS+? and EDrive FAQ


See the new EAA-PHEV Conversion project sponsored by the Electric Auto Association. This is focused on "do-it-yourself" conversions of Prius (and perhaps later other hybrids) by people with the technical background to safely work on high-voltage components. Their discussion group has begun working on this, and we're helping.

At the CalCars-sponsored PRIUS+ Plug-In Hybrid Conversion Group (don't try to subscribe, as membership is closed), you can see where we defined the project, assembled the components and built our first prototype (see links at top of page to Fact Sheet and Photos). For initial testing we used PbA batteries; we're now testing Ni-MH, and EDrive Systems is using LiIon. For the benefit of those who aren't members of the Group and can't access the Group's files area, here are the current PDF versions of the PRIUS+ Batteries, PRIUS+ Components and Configuration Options (seeing the entire battery document is easiest by printing it).

If you're interested in the history, go back a year to get a flavor of how this all began by reading PriusPlusTechnicalPosts (300K word doc excerpting online postings through May 2004 about enabling the Prius's "EV-only" mode that Toyota designed and about adding additional battery capacity, but not enabling grid-charging of the larger battery pack).
(See our Resources page for links to the main online discussion groups.)
Instructions (1.5MB pdf) show how individuals can enable the Prius's EV-only mode Coastal Electric Technologies also offers a kit. (Toyota currently ships cars in Europe and Japan with this button, but it's unavailable in the US -- see photo).

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW: If you can connect us with individual or group PRIUS+ sponsors, not limited to Californians, write us:

  1. If you hope to get an installed PRIUS+ conversion kit, support our work and subscribe to our Newsletter.
  2. If you know one or more patrons who can contribute to get the ball rolling, have them contact us.
  3. If you know celebrities, entrepreneurs and other early adopters who want to hear more, send them to us.
  4. Read and distribute our flyers.
  5. If you know a decisionmaker at a company or institution that needs a best-available hybrid mini-fleet, especially Prius or Ford Escape, send them to us.
We are setting the stage for a public effort to get Toyota or other automakers involved, building PHEVS that will cost only a few thousand dollars more than a conventional hybrid.

SPREAD THE WORD: Distribute our flyer. Tell people to go to www.PriusPlus.Org to find out about the PRIUS+ campaign.

CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT: It's tax-deductible, with a credit card or PayPal.

Related Prius and Industry Developments: We have been encouraged to see evidence of growing interest in building variants on the Prius platform. Ford has licensed Toyota hybrid patents and Nissan will use the Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. To demonstrate the vehicle's capabilities, Toyota has built three racer prototypes with Toyota Racing Development (link is the US branch, which designs, builds and markets performance aftermarket parts and, who knows, could someday build PRIUS+), and has produced for testing a version that can act as an auxiliary power generator. And California's South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is spending $4M to convert 30-35 Priuses to run as hydrogen (internal combustion, not fuel cell)-electric hybrids. See Quantum press release by engineering/integration company and SCAQMD Response to Joseph Romm, former US Energy Department official, who supports non-hydrogen approaches, including PHEVs.

Check out past CalCars news, or subscribe to our low-traffic PHEV newsletter at right: 
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