Wouldn’t you want to go 200 miles per gallon?
What is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle? Why should I take a hybrid electric car and convert it to a plug-in hybrid?
The best way I can put it is to say that a plug-in hybrid is cleaner and more energy-efficient than a hybrid electric car. A plug-in hybrid can be a gas car with electric batteries that have a range of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, or 70 miles; or it can be a hybrid electric car that has a purely zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) range of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, or 70 miles.
The picture below shows how Felix Kramer, head of CalCars converted his 2nd Generation Toyota Prius and gets 100 miles per gallon across to board.
Why Should You Convert?
If you use your car for commuting to work or driving around town, a plus-in hybrid acts as an electric car all the time you are driving. How important is that? Well, let’s put it this way. I am an electric vehicle purist at heart, and to transform the automobile market, we need more electric and fewer gasoline-powered cars. You should convert your car simply because a plug-in hybrid electric car is one of the cleanest, most efficient, and most cost-effective forms of transportation around—and it is really fun to drive.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) combine the benefits of pure electric vehicles and those of hybrid electric vehicles. Like pure electric vehicles, they plug into the electric grid and can be powered by the stored electricity alone. Like hybrid electric vehicles, they have engines that enable them to have a greater driving range and that can recharge the battery.
The cost of the electricity needed to power plug-in hybrids for all-electric operation has been estimated at less than one-quarter of the cost of gasoline.1 Compared to conventional vehicles, PHEVs can reduce air pollution, dependence on petroleum, and the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Plug-in hybrids use no fossil fuel during their all-electric range if their batteries are charged from nuclear and renewable energy sources. Other benefits include improved national energy security, fewer fill-ups at the filling station, the convenience of recharging at home, opportunities to provide emergency backup power to the home, and vehicle-to-grid applications.2 Tax credits for plug-in hybrids will extend to the first 200,000 models sold by each automaker.
There are even tax provisions that give qualified aftermarket conversions that turn conventional hybrids such as the
Toyota Prius into plug-ins with additional all-electric range a credit of 10 percent of the cost up to $4,000 (or a $40,000 conversion cost), and for credits of up to $2,500 for purchasers of low speed or neighborhood electric vehicles (limited in most states to top speeds of 25 mph), and electric motorcycles including three-wheeled vehicles.
The costs and benefits of cars extend far beyond an individual driver to society as a whole. But when people talk about payback, they refer only to the net dollars to the driver. Because this question never comes up when people pay a premium for features like leather seats, we point out that millions of people want the “environmental feature” (see J.D. Power and Associates’ 2004 report). Car and Driver’s Patrick Bedard writes amusingly but tellingly about this issue. Despite this, a 2003 EPRI study, assuming only $2 a gallon gas, zero buying incentives, and a PHEV premium of $3,000 to $5,000 more than standard hybrids, shows that the total lifetime cost of ownership for a PHEV will be lower than that for any other vehicle type—so the payback will be there.9
Electric vehicles have also been around for more than 100 years, so making a hybrid car and PHEV will greatly improve their range and performance. When you do it yourself, any choice you wish to make for more speed, acceleration, or range is readily accommodated.
Just do it.!!
These are excerpts from my book Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.