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Average Joe
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Does anyone have experience converting a Prius to a Plug-In Hybrid? I'm interested in buying one but I'd like to know how to add a little range and go the plug-in hybrid route.
 

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i havent heard anyone converting a hybrid car into a plug-in hybrid... better buy a plug-car if i were you but it's still rare to see one for now...
 

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There are no range limits on a Prius, its a hybrid. Mileage does jump with the plugin conversion, I've read. There are a couple of companies offering conversion kits that I've seen listed at Priuschat.com.
 

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There actually isn't a "pure EV range", however if you keep your speed under 35 and are very careful with your driving techniques you can keep it mainly in electric without having the ICE kick in . I'm not sure if the conversion kits allow for pure electric mode, although Toyota was supposedly looking at being able to keep it in electric mode for first 40 miles when they were planning to add PHEV in 2010 model, now postponed until new batteries are available. Hypermilers in recent contests were actually reaching 200+ mpg on standard Prius hybrids.
 

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Average Joe
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What I initially was asking about was a mod to put it into EV-only mode until the batteries were drained, then running off the ICE to drive and recharge. I heard the japanese ones have an EV button that does that but it wasn't put on the US models.
 

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What I initially was asking about was a mod to put it into EV-only mode until the batteries were drained, then running off the ICE to drive and recharge. I heard the japanese ones have an EV button that does that but it wasn't put on the US models.
I've heard about that EV button too, but it was for cars going to Europe. As of right now, I think there are only a few companies doing plug-in conversions. They add an additional battery and tweak it to stay in EV mode longer (I think it was up to 35mi/hr) The cost for this was still high though. I don't think there is any "easy" mods you can do yourself.
 

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The "EV button" can be added to any Prius. It is standard equipment on the Japanese models.

http://www.calcars.org/prius-evbutton-install.pdf

Any pushbutton switch will work, but you can buy the JDM EV button for a totally stock look.

The button basically tells the Prius to not bother warming up the engine like it normally does when you first start the car. It does not increase the speed at which the Prius fires the ICE. I believe that speed is 41 MPH. Toyota is or was testing a few PHEV Prii in California that could stay in EV mode up to about 60 MPH. It is unknown whether this required a hardware change or simply a software (ECM) tweak. Toyota of course won't say.

There are a few companies that sell PHEV systems. Hymotion (now owned by A123) is a big one. I have seen DIY jobs with gel cells as well. It isn't particularly complicated for someone with a DIY mentality.

I watched a Prius get converted last year. A high voltage/current connector (Anderson connector) is added where the stock battery connects. The additional battery is bolted into the cargo area. The EV button is added. Even without the EV button, the additional battery will improve mileage quite a bit because the Prius will use the electric more when the state of charge is high.

The relatively high cost of the battery (most use Lithium Ion) means the payback period is quite long. Of course this depends on the usage pattern.

If I am not mistaken, it is impossible to recharge the additional battery pack through regenerative braking, only from the grid. So if you expend the additional battery on a long trip, you're driving an ordinary Prius with a bunch of extra weight until you can plug in again.

There are a couple or three PHEV Honda Insights in existence, and at least a couple more in the works that I am aware of. The MIMA system is required to take full advantage of the additional battery capacity in the Insight.
 

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Yeah, and they did some prep work before the camera started rolling - they didn't show the part where they installed the perpetual motion machine.

It's just too much to handle, and we should drive diesels instead. ;)

Nothing to see here. These are not the droids you're looking for.
 

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Does anyone have experience converting a Prius to a Plug-In Hybrid? I'm interested in buying one but I'd like to know how to add a little range and go the plug-in hybrid route.
Okay,
To start you may want to check these links like this on youtube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtp5Y20Bev0
Also plug in supply link http://www.pluginsupply.com/index.htm and
http://www.autobeyours.com/index.htm
DIY for PHEV from what I see is not one stop shopping for parts and tech information. You must decide how much money you want to spend on batteries (lead acid or lithum) Custom install PHEV conversions 5000 grand and up.
 

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I've heard about that EV button too, but it was for cars going to Europe. As of right now, I think there are only a few companies doing plug-in conversions. They add an additional battery and tweak it to stay in EV mode longer (I think it was up to 35mi/hr) The cost for this was still high though. I don't think there is any "easy" mods you can do yourself.
Anything worth having is not "easy" you can buy switch just do some research and use your local "ev friends" as a source too. Coastal electronics sells one type which seems to be a some what popular choice also juiced hybrids has how to video. This is just one part of going PHEV
 

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A resourceful DIYer can find used Prius traction batteries from salvage yards that dismantle wrecked cars. I have bought 3 such batteries for $500 each. Two were from low mileage wrecks with less than 35K miles, and both tested to be in extremely good condition. One was from a high mileage car, and would have been a gamble, had I not known what to do. It turned out to be a warranty replacement battery with less than 5K miles on it prior to the vehicle being totalled!

By law, salvage yards must give the VIN number of any vehicle that parts come from. Most will give the true mileage, but don't take their word for it. A visit to a cooperative Toyota dealer can yield you a printout of the vehicle service history. This printout will help identify if a Prius has had a history of unresolved battery problems, and will point out the rare gem that has had a traction battery replacement just prior to being wrecked. It will also show the true mileage of a vehicle at service intervals, ect.

The reason for this is important... Be very wary of dishonest salvage yards, eBay is apparently full of them.

While shopping for used 2003 Prius cars, traction batteries, and other parts for a multi-car alternative energy conversion project, I had the extreme misfortune of finding a salvage yard (Xvipers1) that sells on eBay, and claims to be in St Louis Missouri. Based on information supplied to us by the seller, including lots of photos of a complete vehicle with minor front end damage, we arranged to purchase a wrecked 2003 Prius with Buy-It-Now. We were also arranging to buy extra 2003 traction batteries, and other parts needed for the repair and conversion of that Prius. I became very suspicious when AFTER we used Buy-It-Now to secure the purchase of the vehicle, I began to see parts for this exact same vehicle being listed for sale on eBay by this same seller. Parts like the traction battery, body parts, interior parts, ect. These parts sales were listed using the exact same photos that we had been sent as angle shots to show the condition of the vehicle. I contacted the seller and tried to make an appointment to pick up the vehicle in 2 days, and said we would pay for the Prius after we looked at it in person. He insisted that we pay up front, and he would have the vehicle shipped to us via a vehicle transport service, and that he would pile all of the parts we were buying inside before shipping it. He said he was going to be away at auto auctions on the days I wanted to visit. I decided to take a cross-country trip and arrived unannounced anyways. I had to do an online search to find his actual location, turned out that he was operating out of a farm over a hundred miles southwest of St Louis. Despite his claims to be at an auto auction in Illinois when I called from nearby, he was actually there when I arrived at the farm. After he recovered from the shock of seeing me drive up in person, he simply said "it's in bad shape", and hesitantly pointed in the direction of the Prius. He went right back to stripping a wrecked Viper. When we found and looked over the Prius we were to be picking up, we could see why he wanted to ship it. He had totally stripped and gutted it, and piled the interior full of damaged parts that had been removed from other wrecked Prii. We went back and asked him what happened to it, and he tried to convince us that we really did not want to buy that car, that he had a 2002 in better condition (that was being dropped off by a tow truck while we were there), and he wanted us to buy that one for more money, despite it being a higher mileage 2002. We looked over all of the other Prii that he had there, and none were really what we were looking for. So we just drove away, empty handed and disgusted. We reported the incident to eBay, and they cancelled our Buy-It-Now obligation under the "item not as listed" clause. A few days later, when looking at Prius traction batteries listed on eBay, I decided to check on the reported mileage he had placed in his traction battery listings, and they did not match what mileages were on the vehicles he had taken them out of, vehicles we had looked at while there. I found that the dealer records according to VIN showed that the vehicles had way higher mileages than what he was reporting. Months later, I warned the members of a Prius forum when one member posted a link to his eBay store for another member looking for a salvage battery. Word must have gotten back to him because 2 days later he corrected the reported mileage in those battery listings.

So remember, there are deals to be had for those that love to DIY, but be smart and be careful.

Bob Boyce
 
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