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Hybrid Prius that gets over 100 Miles per Gallon

timinalaskatiminalaska Posts: 6
edited March 14 in Toyota
There are a couple companies that are actually making modifications to the Prius so it gets over 100 mpg for the average commuter or errand runner.

The Prius+ drives just like a normal hybrid, except that you have the optional ability to plug it in at night at your own house. You don't have to plug it in, but if you want to, you can get up to a 50 mile boost without EVER having to use the gasoline engine.

If you just run around the city doing errands at speeds up to 34 miles per hour, you could potentially get unlimited gas mileages. It costs 60 to 90 cents to charge overnight (much less than a gallon of fuel) and as the electricity grids become cleaner (ie, windpower, water, and solar verus coal) our Prius' become extremely more effective against pollution and global warming. At the same time, we minimize our support for Middle Eastern oil companies with 'petro' dollars that we spend at the pump. As a whole, our country becomes not only cleaner, but safer too.

I and many other customers would love for Toyota to make available now a plug in optional Hybrid Prius (PHEV), so please call Toyota and ask them to start making them. They don't think there will be a demand due to the failure with plug in electric cars in the past, but with gas at over $3.00 a gallon, I sure would love to average over 100 per gallon. And then when the battery runs out, the Prius keeps running as a normal hybrid.

The technologies exist, they are already on the road (just not mass produced -- see www.calcars.org), Toyota and other companies just need to know that us consumers will actually buy them. So please call Toyota at 800-331-4331. Tell them that for a few more thousand more, we'd like to plug in our hybrids at night to get over 100 miles per gallon.

Toyota really needs to do a complete customer survey to really gauge the demand for this new type of vehicle that not many people know about.

Thanks!

Tim
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Comments

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Tell them that for a few more thousand more, we'd like to plug in our hybrids at night to get over 100 miles per gallon

    I would like to have a car I could plug in over night and use to run my errands. The modified Prius you are referring to is about a $12,000 add-on to an already over priced car. Even if gas was $5 per gallon you would never make up the difference you paid for the additional batteries. Then you add all that weight to a car that is marginal handling and you could have some serious problems. I am not saying that Toyota will not come up with a PHEV, it is highly unlikely until a better battery is invented. Good luck, I don't think Toyota pays any attention to us little people.
  • Yes, you are exactly right. It's about $12,000 more for the add-on, but that's because the batteries, as you said, are still very expensive and only a few Prius' are currently being modifed.

    However, the reason it's so great if Toyota took this on is because the extra cost might only be $3,000 to $4,000 (instead of $12,000) due to Toyota being able to manufacture PHEVs in economies of scale.

    The initial battery technology has already came a long way since the first Prius was introduced a few years go. The batteries have also became less expensive. What we need is for Toyota to get on this and research and produce PHEVs so they actually are affordable. This also helps decrease our dependence on foreign oil.

    I believe there is enough demand that not only it will be profitable for Toyota, but also will cause the battery technology to become much more affordable. Batteries are becoming lighter as they get more advanced. The batteries are still heavy, and to the best of my knowledge, the extra gain in weight currently causes a decrease of about 5 mpg. This figure might actually be less now, as the companies are putting a lot of research bringing this figure down as much as possible. But the lower mpg is compensated by being able to plug in your Prius overnight and get 100 mpg if you're commuting to work or doing errands.

    As has been said, a couple companies have been able to modify the Prius into an optional plug in hybrid...imagine what Toyota can do with their engineers and their financial standing. I'm sure they could do so much more and make this technology much less expensive.

    Thanks!

    Tim

    p.s. It's us little people that buy the Prius' though, and Toyota will listen to us if they know more and more people would want to buy a PHEV =)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    The initial battery technology has already came a long way since the first Prius was introduced a few years go.

    I don't think it has. They are still using the same NiMH battery technology developed by GM for the EV-1 in 1997. The only reason I can see for the lighter batteries is less capacity. There may have been some subtle advances. Toyota also has to pay royalties for using the NiMH battery technology. I have not seen any credible evidence that the price of batteries for the hybrids have come down at all since their introduction. Hybrid car prices have only gone up, up, up.

    CalCars is using Li-ion batteries for their plug-in hybrid modifications. They are very expensive and have some serious problems to overcome concerning heat if over charged.

    Don't get me wrong I like the whole concept of an electric vehicle. I was sad that CARB pulled the carpet out from under the automaker's. I believe they would have solved most of the issues by now. I'm not sold on current hybrids, but for those that like them, it is good.
  • icediabloicediablo Posts: 2
    I am going to buy one soon> 100 miles per gallon ? How long is the batteries warranty & what would the total cost be to be replaced? This needs to be calculated in hybrid v gas or diesel
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    That is a good question. If you live in CA they may have something to say about the warranty. Because it is an add-on to an existing car it will void your regular warranty. I would imagine it is less than 1 year warranty by the vendor. If the Li-ion conversion is $12k. That is mostly for the batteries. If the system allows the batteries to charge fully and discharge fully, the lifespan will not be very long. That is how Toyota protects the batteries in their hybrids. They only use about 60% of the capacity in the middle of the range. Never over charging or total discharging.
  • icediabloicediablo Posts: 2
    Thx gagrice, Two more things you may know,what would it take for me to add the plugin, can i jumper asis a 2500 or 5000 watt inverter to power a small home ? I did read somewhere someone did this ? ps what in your opinion is the best vehicle to own hybrid.. straight gas or diesel & what model? Thx again from bama ROLL TIDE!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I am assuming you want to use the batteries in the Hybrid to power your home in an emergency. I know that is one of the things I thought of when I bought the GMC Hybrid PU truck. It has four 20 amp 120 volt outlets. I have only used it to run a saw out in the field. I would be real cautious about adding an invertor to a hybrid car. Maybe a small one for laptops and cameras.

    If I was in need of a commuter car I would consider the Civic hybrid. The Prius is a good commuter also. I just cannot get past the looks. The Prius has lots of room when you fold the back seats. The Camry Hybrid is very popular also. I just do not like that low slung look that so many cars are copying. It hinders visibility that is important to me. Good luck with your search.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Always keeping in mind the "stock" Prius battery only has a few amp-hrs of capacity, so I doubt you could use it for much. It only carries the car a few km on its' own. The primary design goal of the battery was to store the recovered regenerative brake energy (about 20% of the mileage gain) and to give a torque boost to the gasoline engine under acceleration. The gas engine is run in a different mode than usually used, and this gives it higher efficiency (another 10-15% mileage gain) but in this mode it develops a lot less power than the "normal" cycle engines).

    The aftermarket guys add a much larger battery (something I have often wondered about). The NiMh battery was never developed by GM! It's a design done by a separate company (who have been trying to get the car manufacturerers to listen for a few years now). The NiMh battery has been improving rapidly. Just look at the capacity increase of AA batteries over the last two years. Almost doubled!

    As for adding an inverter, not a good idea. Most aftermarket inverters run on 12VDC. The Prius 12V battery is tiny and you'd run the risk of discharging it rapidly - and damaging it (because it's a lead acid battery it can be damaged if discharged too much).

    As for heat under charge, all battery technologies heat up, but both the LiI (lithium ion) and NiMh (nickle metal hydride) seem to suffer from this a little more. An easy solution is to use coolant passed though small pipes between the battery cells. There are up to 400 cells in the Prius (500 V battery), though I suspect it's closer to 333. Lots of places for improvement. There isn't actually a lot of heat energy, so a simple free air radiator would suffice with a charger that throttles back when the temp gets too high.

    Oh, and there are rumours that Toyota will add "plugin" capability to the Prius in 2008. We shall see. ;)
  • Oh yeah, I forgot one thing. There is a new movie out which is going to major metropilitan areas in July and August. It's called "Who Killed the Electric Car?" (www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com).

    I just saw this at the opening in Los Angeles last week. It's very interesting, and it also discusses to an extent the improvement over battery technology over the last few years, and also how the Automakers have not used the best battery technology available to them.

    The movie's been distributed by Sony Classics, and it's well worth seeing.

    Thanks! Tim
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    The NiMh battery was never developed by GM!

    Here is a brief bit of history concerning the NiMH battery that was developed by a GM company for the EV-1.

    Detroit, October 10 -- Texaco (NYSE:TX) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) today announced Texaco's intent to acquire GM's share of a joint venture that has developed an advanced battery technology for the automotive market.

    Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, Texaco will acquire GM's 60 percent share of an existing joint venture with Energy Conversion Devices – ECD – (NASDAQ:ENER), a firm in which Texaco already holds a 20 percent interest. GM and Ovonic Battery Company, a subsidiary of ECD, formed the joint venture, GM Ovonic, in 1994 to manufacture and commercialize high-efficiency, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) automobile batteries. The joint venture, which will be re-named Texaco Ovonic, plans to fully commercialize and expand its applications to a broad range of energy markets.

    "ECD and Ovonic developed breakthrough advanced NiMH battery technology and General Motors has brought it to the production stage


    http://www.cobasys.com/news/PressReleases/20001010.htm

    OK, now onto the heart of the matter about Cobasys' long history of aggressively defending its comprehesive NiMH patent portfolio, which gives it exclusive control over worldwide NiMH battery production.

    I have not actually read the legal judgement against Panasonic in favor of Cobasys by the international court of arbitration because that decision was sealed and supposed to remain confidential by prior agreement of the parties, as you probably know. However numerous details of that judgement/settlement have emerged in the press, including some revealed by Cobasys itself. What we know is that the court levied a $30 million fine against Panasonic and Toyota which they had to pay to Cobasys for violation of Cobasys' NiMH patents and back-payment of royalties owed to Cobasys.


    NiMH History, why no PHEV
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Ah, I see you were confused by the "corporate speak" of GM. The battery was developed by Texaco Ovonics (among others), and GM is a "partner", not a working partner, a small percentage money provider (and probably has a deal to use the technology). Texaco Ovonics has successfully defended their patent, which will historically back up their claim to be the inventor (even if history proves they weren't). Even so, GM has shown little interest in use of the technology in electric cars. Their use appears to be for the purpose of advertising and improving their "fleet fuel use".

    I stand by my statement - "The NiMh battery was never developed by GM!"
    Partially funded, perhaps, but that's it.

    This brings up an interesting point - I'm not sure there is another example of such a quick adoption of a "new invention". The development hatched the battery in 1999 and look how pervasive use of the NiMH technology has become in six short years!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I think you missed this part. GM was the owner of Ovonics when they invented the NiMH battery. Texaco owned 20% at the time. GM sold their controlling interest in Cobasys (Ovonics) to raise maoney.

    Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, Texaco will acquire GM's 60 percent share

    The bottom line is the US taxpayer through Clinton's giveaway program PNGV was involved in the development of the NiMH battery.

    PS
    Texaco Cobasys (Ovonics) sued Toyota and Panasonic after GM sold their 60% to Texaco.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    A correction of my previous post.
    I've got to remember to RTFM! The Prius battery consists of 28 modules of 6 cells each. That's 168 cells. Peak voltage will be 252 V and "average" voltage will be around 210 V. Minimum voltage would be 201.6 V, and if you measured the battery voltage and found it lower you might have some shorted or otherwise dead cells. You can estimate how many dead cells there are by dividing the difference by 1.2 V (the minimum voltage you should see across a nickle metal-hydride cell). This would be difficult unless you actually separate the 7.2 Volt modules though, as the voltage can vary depending on state of charge -of each cell-, so the battery voltage can vary more than you would think it would caused by dead cells.

    Bottom line of this is -if- you can buy the 7.2 V modules the battery is made of, you can "repair" a battery pack. Once it's over about 7 years of operation, this might not be a good way to go as all the cells will be getting old. Nice to know though in case there are cell failures early. As Toyota absorbs these per the warrenty, I guess they made it easy to repair.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I yield to your superiour knowledge. I still don't think -GM- "invented" it, though obviously they helped (in a majority way) fund the development.

    I guess Texaco Ovonics is the company they interviewed (with a plant visit as well) on Motorweek last year. I think the head guy they talked to was the actual inventor. They are also into using the Nickle hydride matrix to store hydrogen at "low" pressure (100 psi instead of several thousand psi) to build "practical" hydrogen storage tanks for hydrogen powered vehicles.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I read something about Ovonics/Cobasys being involved in hydrogen storage. My only emphasis is that many folks think that everything good in automotive comes from Japan. Many thought that Toyota invented the NiMH until they got sued and lost. Toyota is in court over the HSD system as well. GM was screwed by CARB on the electric vehicle. The mandate should not have been made then pulled. All of the Big 3 built hybrids in the early 1990s. None came to market as they were too costly and they thought they would not sell. Toyota called that one right. Are they making any money at it? Who knows?

    I personally would rather see a simple electric vehicle for running errands with a 50 mile range. Much easier to build and maintain. Would satisfy a lot of people's needs. As long as modifying a Prius is the only option for PHEV, I don't see that as practical. There is just too many things that can go wrong and not be covered by a warranty.
  • Regarding the last post, I'm not sure why you say that 'GM' was screwed by CARB on the electric vehicle. GM was very aggressive in getting CARB to remove the mandate. GM and other auto manufacturers did not want the mandate, and were actually successful in changing the mandate to only force the auto industry to produce electric cars 'per' consumer demand versus a specific number. The auto industry makes money on auto parts and repair.

    The electric vehicle is very clean, never needs oil changes, and has many less moving parts. When the EV1 was around, it needed very little maintenance. The auto industry relies on cars needing parts, oil changes, etc, especially dealerships. I forget what the exact percentage is, but dearlerships make a large portion of revenue from their repair shops. The EV1 was very successful and had a range of about 80 miles, and 'could have' been marketed succesfully. GM and other auto makers (and oil companies) did not want electric cars around.

    When GM1 ended the leases to the EV1, rather than simply selling the cars to the leasees, they forced leasees to return the cars against their will. The cars then got crushed and went into the shredder. Why not just sell the EV1s that have already been driven. Toyota finally allowed some customers to keep the RAV4 EV after consumer protest against Toyota also forcing customers to return the vehicles and then crushing them.

    GM and other auto makers did not want anything to do with electric vehicles even when there was customer demand for them. There is more information about this at www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com and the movie is being shown throughout hundreds of theatres across the nation over July and August.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    OK, I pretty much agree with your analysis. I think we the public got screwed and GM indirectly got screwed by CARB. They could have stayed the course on demanding 10% of the cars to be ZEV. Instead the little minds at CARB went for the hybrid carrot. Hybrids may be OK but as you put it so well, they will be money makers in parts for the automakers. GM lost the lead in ZEV cars that it held for a very short time. I don't think they wanted any responsibility for replacement parts on the EV-1. It was easier to scrap than carry parts for them. Toyota is still on the hook for warranty on the last of the RAV4 EVs sold in 2003. I will have to rent that movie when it comes out on DVD.
  • toyoinfotoyoinfo Posts: 1
    Interesting article on a "potential" battery future for Hybrids...

    The great light hope for hybrid vehicles
    Lithium ion could be the wonder battery that enables automakers to make big profits on hybrids

    Richard Truett | | Automotive News / June 19, 2006 - 6:00 am

    Batteries may be the key to the future of gasoline-electric hybrids.

    If hybrids are ever going to earn automakers a profit, the cost of the batteries must decrease while the life of the battery pack increases. The number of battery suppliers also must expand so that batteries are just another commodity, like windshield wipers and headlights.

    Lithium ion -- the same type of powerful, compact battery in your cell phone and digital camera -- could be the wonder battery that delivers all that and more.

    Virtually all of today's hybrids use nickel-metal hydride batteries. Nickel metal has proved to be reliable, but the battery packs are heavy, and the materials inside are expensive compared with those in lithium-ion packs.

    Also, most experts think that hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid, will need a replacement battery pack after eight years or 100,000 miles.

    If so, that could hurt the resale value of used hybrids because it would present subsequent owners with a battery replacement bill of between $3,000 and $5,000.

    Manufacturers in Japan, Europe and the United States are working to replace nickel-metal hydride batteries with lithium ion. The switch could begin in the United States as early as 2008.

    Earlier this month, Nissan Motor Co. launched the Atlas 20 medium-duty truck in Japan with lithium-ion batteries.

    Officials at Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Johnson Controls Inc. say lithium-ion batteries will begin replacing nickel-metal hydride batteries in high volume around 2010. Johnson Controls has a joint venture with French battery maker Saft Groupe SA.

    "There's less weight, greater power density and, eventually, lower cost" with lithium ion, says Tom Watson, Ford's manager of hybrid propulsion systems. "We think that in the long term when you look at the cost-efficiency curve, lithium ion has much better potential than nickel metal. The benefits that it provides are just too overwhelmingly positive to pass up."


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Lithium-ion batteries

    ADVANTAGES

    Lighter than nickel-metal batteries, improving performance and fuel economy

    Enables plug-in hybrids

    Production costs should fall over time

    CHALLENGES

    Sensitive to temperature

    Fragile

    Can be slow to recharge

    Manufacturing and shipping issues

    Existing nickel-metal batteries could improve
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    One more challenge - Lithium-ion batteries don't like to receive or deliver high currents. This is the "show stopper" they are working to fix. Regenerative braking and accelleration assist require high currents into and out of the battery.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Also, most experts think that hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid, will need a replacement battery pack after eight years or 100,000 miles.

    Those so-called experts aren't all that smart or observant... since there are quite a few owners well in excess of 100,000 miles without any need for battery-pack replacement. It doesn't make sense either, since the warranty in some states is for 10 years / 150,000 miles.

    The latest update from Jesse (a friend of mine with a Classic Prius) is having surpassed 243,000 miles with the original still.

    JOHN
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