In Part I we covered Electric (BEV) vehicles.
Here in Part II we’ll focus on PHEV, Plug-In Hybrids.
Plug-In Hybrids are going to be big, fast. The electric utilities are big backers for the technology and I’m seeing article after article like this one from last week’s Oregonian in Portland:
PGE predicts Surge in hybrid vehicles, plans more plug ins
Demonstration – The utility will build 12 charging stations in Portland and Salem
Saturday, July 05, 2008
LIBBY TUCKER -The Associated Press
Portland General Electric has begun leading the charge for mass adoption of plug-in hybrid-electric cars in Oregon. The utility plans to install 12 electric-vehicle charging stations in Portland and Salem by September as part of a demonstration project to develop the transportation infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles.
The project will also help the utility anticipate the demand plug-in cars might place on the region’s electric grid and design smart grid systems to help even out variability in wind and solar resources.
Meanwhile conservative Kiplinger Business Resource reports:
Auto makers are speeding ultra-high-mileage plug-in cars to market to beat looming federal emissions mandates.
WHAT YOU CAN BUY TODAY
Led by Felix Kramer’s pioneering efforts there’s more than one place you can bring your 2004 or later Toyota Prius into a plug-in hybrid (PHEV)- the next best thing to having an electric car.
Plug-in Hybrids are seen as the perfect transition step to BEVs – battery electric vehicles -because their combination of electric motor and gasoline motor will allow most people to travel their average 30 miles a day on the electric motor, but still have the long range capability they also need sometimes
I could tell you everything you’d ever want to know about plug-in hybrids, but I’d just be repeating what I learned from the Plug-in Hybrid FAQ expertly compiled by Earl Killian at Climate Progress.
One thing I can tell your right now is where to get yourself one of the those 100+ mpg Prius conversions:
A123Systems uses their Hymotion L5 Plug-in Conversion Modules to convert your Prius hybrid into a plug in hybrid capable of 100+ mpg for 30-40 miles.
Hybrids Plus is converting both Prius hybrids and Ford Escape Hybrids. They’re in Colorado and they charge $32,400 to do an Escape – car not included.
Plug-In Conversions in Poway, California is one of the first companies I became aware of doing Prius plug-ins when I saw their cars and Nilar batteries back in November at the Renewable L.A. event. Here’s what their website says today:
Plug-In Conversions Corporation (San Diego, California) is pleased to announce our participation with the California Cars Initiative (CalCars.org) and Nilar, Inc (www.nilar.com) in the first CalCars based East Coast conversion of a Prius into a PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston. Nilar NiMH batteries are used which give the converted Prius a low-speed electric range of 15+ miles which provides overall mileage of 100+ MPG depending on driving profile. Nilar makes an advanced NiMH battery with characteristics similar to NiMH batteries used in electric vehicles that have attained 150,000 miles of battery pack life. While other battery chemistries show promise, no other battery chemistry to date has been able to demonstrate this longevity.
EDrive in Los Angeles says they’ll start converting cars next month. Here’s what else they say on their website:
With an EDrive upgrade installed in your 2004 or later year Toyota Prius, you won’t miss those trips to the gas station as your daily commute driving range expands to well over 1000 miles per fill-up. EDrive allows a substantial amount of gasoline to be displaced by electricity when you charge nightly and drive locally. Using any 110-volt wall socket, your EDrive Prius can be plugged in overnight to recharge an expanded lithium-ion battery system. With a full charge, expect to see over 100 miles per gallon for the first 40 miles of your daily drive under average conditions. On the open road past 40 miles, or if you forget to plug it in, your EDrive Prius will behave like a normal Prius gasoline-electric hybrid.
EDrive can be installed in the rear of a Prius in about four hours without touching the motors, engine or hybrid control system up front. The lithium-ion battery system fits entirely under the rear cargo carpet.
WHAT YOU’LL BUY TOMORROW
GM says their new plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt will be ready sooner than they originally planned:
Posted on: Tuesday, 8 July 2008,
In the wake of an economic downturn, General Motors Corp is hurrying production of its Chevy Volt. It now hopes to unveil a showroom-ready model in September, according to sources close to the project.
Your Creative Greenius really wishes GM well, but I have no faith or confidence that they will deliver on their promise with this car. Based on GM’s record over the last 30 years they will have to prove themselves to me.
Meanwhile they’ll have Toyota to deal with if they do succeed…
Toyota made their announcement in January at the Detroit Auto Show and they haven’t said much since except to whine a little about how tough it is to develop the batteries. I think it’s safe to say that it’s only because of the efforts of the groups like CalCars.org and others doing the heavy lifting to develop the Prius as a Plug-In that Toyota is doing this now.
The good news is that Toyota’s car is looking good according to Popular Mechanics testing.
But we don’t have to count on Toyota and GM to give us the plug-ins we want, they’re just two of the floats in this parade of plug-ins.
The German government announced it will be helping to fund VW’s plug-in hybrid development program with 15 million euros. VM aims for a 2010 vehicle with 31 miles of all-electric range. VW head Martin Winterkorn said that while petrol or diesel powered cars would be around for some time to come, “the future belongs to all-electric cars.” According to autoblog, the Twin Drive uses a 82-hp electric motor and a 2.0L turbodiesel producing 122 hp.
Of course, GM’s Saturn division made that claim back in January of 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show and they haven’t shared anything new about this car in a while.
Once again, GM’s management and track record during the entire 30+ years I’ve been driving would lead me to bet against them.
It would be nice if I was wrong about GM, but so far I never have been. There isn’t a single person in top management at GM who really gets it.
I have more faith in the Fiscar start up company vehicle than I do in GM’s chances of delivering anything as they’ve promised it.
The vehicle dynamics and fuel economy have performed better than expected and we remain on target for our fourth quarter 2009 initial delivery.
—Henrik Fisker, CEO, Fisker Automotive
In sport mode the Fisker Karma will offer a continuous top speed of 125 miles per hour (200 kph). Electric only, or stealth mode, is capped at 95 miles per hour (150 kph). Preliminary testing of the lithium-ion energy storage system that powers the Fisker Karma has indicated a life expectancy of more than 10 years.
The Fisker Karma is designed to provide an all-electric range of up to 50 miles per day, given a recharge at night. Fisker Automotive is preparing to deliver its first vehicles by fourth quarter 2009.
Currently, Fisker Automotive has received more than 500 orders for the Fisker Karma since its 2008 debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January. Fisker Automotive will reach a full production of 1,250 vehicles per month by the end of 2010. The starting estimated MSRP for the Fisker Karma will be approximately US $80,000
Back in 2007 Volvo Cars announced the introduction of the Volvo ReCharge Concept, a plug-in hybrid with individual electric wheel motors and batteries that can be recharged via a regular electrical outlet for maximum environmental benefit.
Volvo claimed that recharging allows the car to be driven about 100 kilometres on battery power alone before the car’s four-cylinder Flexifuel engine is needed to power the car and recharge the battery.