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Plug-in Hybrids



  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    None on CL today. I do see a 2004 that will go under $10k on Ebay. Not sure if you would trust them. I like to see and drive a car. Unless it is a classic.
    There should be more and more coming on the used market. Not many people want to get stuck with a dead battery after the warranty runs out.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    I need to kick tires too, have the car checked out, and even look at the seller. I can see a collector car, but I am not sure why anyone would try to sell a normal car on ebay, unless they were scamming. Taking it down to UPS to ship is not real practical. :confuse:
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I would buy from a dealer on eBay as long as the car has factory warranty left. I would fly to pick it up. I have not bought any vehicles on eBay. I am looking right now for a ML320 CDI on all the sources. Good luck in finding a donor car for your PHEV.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Even if the price for converting a Prius to PHEV was considerably lower I'm not too sure I'd be interested. I think PHEVs are a great idea but the car needs to be designed for this application. You can put a bigger battery pack in the Prius and modify the software but you still have a small electric motor that was never meant to be the sole source of propulsion. So while your gas mileage would go up considerably you would still be burning gas on almost every trip you took. Personally I'd be more interested in a PHEV that could potentially burn zero gas. For this to be the case it would need an electric motor or motors that are powerful enough to provide 100% of the propulsion in all types of driving, i.e. a series hybrid.

    The the plug-in Prius served its purpose as a proof of concept and as an instrument that raised public awareness about PHEVs.

    With GM sounding more definite on its production date for the Volt your wait might only be 3 years. GM has also been stating that they might have to lease the battery packs in order to meet their target price for this vehicle, which I believe is $25k or less. That would be fine with me because the battery pack is the one component that could potentially see the biggest technological advances in the near future. So when your lease ran out on the original pack in all likelihood you'd be replacing it with something significantly better, which you might have wanted to do anyway.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I am with you on buying a vehicle that was designed from the ground up as a PHEV. I think that a series hybrid with a small ICE for charging the battery is the best way to go. I basically would want an EV with the added benefit of charging on the go.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    The article you posted stated ~"40 miles on almost entirely electric" I guess almost entirely is the rub. Prudent to go with a bottoms up serial hybrid for sure. Though a conversion for an existing owner of a Prius might be something to consider. But even then, maybe better to sell and start fresh.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    The conversion that A123 Systems is promoting does claim 40 mile all electric range for the Prius. I'm not entirely sure how they arrive at that figure since the ICE will kick in at speeds above ~30 mph. I suspect to even use all electric power up to that speed would require very slow acceleration given the electric motor's limited power.

    It's interesting that Toyota has been releasing statements lately regarding delays in incorporating Li-ion in their next generation of hybrids. They claim the technology is just not there and won't be for several years. At the same time GM is very upbeat about the progress of their battery development. I do know that the chemistry used in A123 System's batteries is fundamentally different than the Li-ion batteries being developed for Toyota by Matsushita Electric. I also know that Toyota owns something like a 40% share in Matsushita, which probably makes them somewhat reluctant to pay for someone else's proprietary technology.
  • daysailerdaysailer Member Posts: 720
    And perhaps Toyota's standards are a bit higher, as history suggests.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    Toyota and EDF are teaming up to develop recharging points for plug-in hybrid electric cars in a key step forward for the emerging vehicle technology.

    The Japanese carmaker and French utility are due next week to announce an agreement to develop electricity infrastructure to serve the plug-in cars Toyota plans to roll out in a few years’ time. Only a few cities, London among them, have recharging points.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/34c16568-57e8-11dc-8c65-0000779fd2ac,Authorised=false.ht- ml?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F34c16568-57e8-11dc-8c65-00007- 79fd2ac.html&_i_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.search.yahoo.com%2Fnews%2Fsearch%3Fp%3- DGM+Volt
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    I have not seen this idea espoused anywhere. I think I might have had an ORIGINAL idea !!!! A whole new solution for any "dead battery Priuses."

    What if CalCars can do the 12,000 PHEV Prius conversion to:

    All the OLD Priuses over 200K miles which have failing or failed batteries and have been traded in for little or no value by the last owner?

    For example, what if all those cars could be converted to PHEVs and sold as a used car for $12,000 ?

    Would people spend $12K for an older Prius which has now been given new birth as a PHEV and which now gets about 100 miles per gallon?

    I think they would.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think the price has gone up a bit. The only company actually offering PHEV that I know of is charging $24,000 for a 15 mile battery range and $32k for 30 mile range. I do agree that you would not want to make a PHEV till your Prius is out of warranty and the traction battery was no longer functioning.

  • michael2003michael2003 Member Posts: 144
    Some people might, however since I spend most of my time on the highway at much higher speeds than the Prius conversions allow for running in all electric mode, I don't see how it would be much benefit to me. I'll just have to wait until vehicles are made available that can actually run at highway speeds on electricity only.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "What if CalCars can do the 12,000 PHEV Prius conversion"

    I don't think the quoted prices include substituting the main traction battery, but rather supplemental batteries. So it would depend upon the cost of the traction batteries. Let us assume (without true numbers) that it would be an additional 3K.

    So take another look at the money - if it costs $15K for a converted model (without EPA warranty guarantees of 150K / 10 years on the batteries), and costs 21K for a new vehicle, which one would people choose?
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    The Prius conversion was a proof of concept. I don't think we should be focusing on the practicality of converting a vehicle that was designed for one purpose into a vehicle that performs another purpose. PHEVs make sense. Prius conversions don't necessarily make sense. The two shouldn't be linked together.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "The Prius conversion was a proof of concept. I don't think we should be focusing on the practicality of converting a vehicle that was designed for one purpose into a vehicle that performs another purpose. PHEVs make sense. Prius conversions don't necessarily make sense. The two shouldn't be linked together."

    Don't look at me, I agree with you. I was responding to someone else suggesting conversions might help with the issue of what to do with a hybrid after the traction battery warranty expired.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Be sure to check out Senior Editor John O'Dell's newest addition to our lineup, the Green Car Advisor for news and commentary on environmental automotive trends and technologies.

    Looking forward to all your comments!
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    I was responding to someone else suggesting conversions might help with the issue of what to do with a hybrid after the traction battery warranty expired.

    Well if you are going to perform this conversion on a Prius it certainly makes more sense to do it to one that's already outside it's warranty.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "Well if you are going to perform this conversion on a Prius it certainly makes more sense to do it to one that's already outside it's warranty."

    Understood where the traction battery is concerned. However the Prius hybrid control system has a lot of expensive parts - just ask anyone who has had to replace the main display on the dash. It is more complicated to run a dual power hybrid powertrain, and if something is wrong with the electric side, the HSD will not allow the car to move.

    The point is that a converted Prius still has a far greater risk of expensive repairs ,even with a new traction battery, than a comparable ICE vehicle of the same age. YMMV, obviously.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    It is more complicated to run a dual power hybrid powertrain,

    I'm not a big fan of the dual power train simply because it represents added complexity. However any hybrid that doesn't use a dual power train probably isn't technically a hybrid. I don't think that GM is referring to it's Volt as a plug-in hybrid but rather as an EV with a range extender.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "However any hybrid that doesn't use a dual power train probably isn't technically a hybrid. "

    I was referring to ICE for comparison, although some case could be made for the IMA, in which the two portions of the power train are pretty much exclusive - the IMA can move the car without the electric propulsion available.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    link title

    Ford Developing 100MPG Escort Hybrid

    Posted Sep 25th 2007 11:13AM by Tim Stevens
    Filed under: Car Tech, Green Tech
    Ford Developing 100mpg Plug-In Escort?Back in July, we reported that Ford was working with Southern California Edison to research plug-in hybrid and electric cars. That partnership is bearing fruit already with talk of the reborn Escort badge being slapped onto a compact plug-in hybrid car. Plug-in hybrids allow you to charge the car overnight before heading for work so you can make your commute on battery power (depending on length of commute, of course). This could result in EPA ratings of 100mpg -- or more.

    The Escort was for a long time Ford's ubiquitous compact, but the car manufacturer replaced it in the '90s with the hipper Focus. With the Focus growing in size and weight age, there's room for a new, smaller car in Ford's range. The plug-in version is currently slated for release as a 2011 model, meaning you may be able to cruise to work emissions-free by late 2010.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    the ring is starting to get crowded with all these hats in it. :D
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    ooops...according to the link you posted, Ford says no.

    "UPDATE: It seems this rumor just was too good to be true after all. Ford has indicated that they are indeed not working on a plug-in hybrid version of the Escort."
  • roland3roland3 Member Posts: 431
    ... The January issue has a mega, 400 billion plus, plan for a solar system, that will eliminate dependence on foreign oil and greatly reduce carbon emissions. It includes millions of plug-in vehicles. One thing I was wondering about is that it will use proven tech, to compress air, in old mines, to a thousand pounds psi, and release it to generators during the night. Also to my surprise, transmission lines will be the more efficient, high voltage, direct current.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    It looks like California might be abandoning it's plans for a network of hydrogen refueling stations. The rational the utilities are giving is that hydrogen may be a solution but it is in the too distant future. They believe PHEVs represent a more immediate solution.

    hydrogen highway
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,704
    Today's WSJ has a big article on the continuing problems getting Li-ion batteries usable in PHEVs, stating that neither Toyota nor GM have yet solved the problem. GM (Wagoner) has also made statements that the previous 2010 target release date on the Volt could slip. Seems like we aren't there, yet...
    WSJ Article
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    The battery pack is definitely the big question. I like the fact that GM/Chevy is proceeding with the other aspects of this vehicle so that it will be ready to go as soon as the battery pack arrives. There's a lot of money involved and a lot of companies competing for this prize. In a capitalist system this is the perfect scenario for getting things done. I'm optimistic.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    There is no way of knowing how long it will take to come up with a safe battery for EVs & PHEVs.

    Toyota had planned to use lithium-ion batteries in a new version of the Prius that would get 60 to 80 miles per gallon, according to Toyota engineers. But the safety problems prompted Toyota to push back the planned launch of the lithium-ion technology from later this year to late 2010 or early 2011.

    "It doesn't matter how far ahead you are in research and development" because all lithium-ion batteries are prone to overheating, no matter what chemistries you use, he contends. "Clever design can minimize the chances for overheating. But if you don't have fool-proof manufacturing know-how, you won't be able to guarantee 100% the safety of a battery cell, no matter how safe it may be proven in the lab."

    Car makers can't very well sell vehicles that might "ignite and burn up grandma and two kids sitting on half a ton of batteries in the car," says Tim Spitler, a battery-material researcher at Altair Nanotechnologies, which is working to develop a car battery.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    The battery pack in Honda's FCX Clarity is going to be Li-ion. While Honda may only be leasing 100 or so of these vehicles I don't think they'd be putting in a battery pack that they felt might explode. There are also several neighborhood electric vehicles that will be offered with Li-ion battery packs later this year.

    Toyota announced at the NAIAS their plans to offer a plug-in Prius by 2010. It seems the people at Toyota aren't talking to each other. It is also interesting that just 2 years ago Toyota was adamently opposed to PHEVs. Toyota's particular hybrid system really isn't well suited for a PHEV application. You can program it to run in electric only mode but the electric motor isn't adequately sized to be the sole source of propulsion. I think we'll see 0-60 times of around 20+ seconds and a vehicle that is totally incapable of climbing any kind of grade without the ICE kicking in.

    That statement by the Altair researcher is baffling. They've already delivered quite a few battery packs to Phoenix Motorcars. Is he saying that these battery packs are unsafe? Regardless, I don't think that a fuel tank is 100% safe either. For that matter driving in general isn't 100% safe. It's a matter of acceptable risk.

    Plug-in Prius
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think acceptable risk will be considered. The Prius has had several cars traction battery just catch fire. I sure would not park one in my garage. It depends on how anxious these manufacturers are to get their cars on the road. Where is the EPA during all this battery testing? You would think they would run extensive tests to see if they are safe. They worry about everything else.

    It sounds like the researcher is concerned about his invention. He wants to sleep at night knowing his battery does not incinerate someone. I know you are very familiar with batteries. I worked on big batteries in Telephone offices. They are nothing to take lightly. I saw a 12 inch crescent wrench vaporize across the office from me when an inexperienced installer went across the + & - terminals. He was lucky to get only minor burns.

    I think that we are a ways yet from the best battery design. Sounds like Toyota and GM are of the same mindset. Companies like Phoenix or Tesla just want to sell something. They can fold if anything bad happens. Toyota and GM do not have that luxury.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    I think that we are a ways yet from the best battery design

    I think that battery technology, like most technologies, will keep evolving so that we will never really have the optimum or best battery. All we need to get started is an acceptable battery. The amount of money being poured into battery development by people far more knowledgeable than myself is a reason to be encouraged.

    I believe that enough safeguards can be built into these battery packs that the risk of fire is no greater than with a gas tank. People seem to feel comfortable sitting on 15 gallons of gasoline. If I were to guess I'd say GM's biggest concerns are cost and longevity. They are currently subjecting battery packs to rigorous testing, trying to simulate 10 years of use in 2 years. Toyota probably did delay Li-ion in the Prius out of safety concerns. But as has been mentioned several times Toyota was trying to use the same chemistry that is used in laptops. My understanding is that they are now pursuing a Li-ion chemistry similar to what GM plans to use, which has a much lower risk of thermal runaway.

    2010 is not that far away. For GM and Toyota to be using this as a target date is an indication to me that they have a fairly high level of confidence that the required battery technology is close at hand. Of course neither GM or Toyota is guaranteeing this date but from a PR perspective I'm sure they'd very much like to meet it. In fact I get the sense that it has become somewhat of a competition between the two companies, which is good for people anxious to see this type of vehicle on the market.

    It will be interesting to see if Honda and Nissan jump on board and announce plans for their own PHEVs. Both companies recently dismissed these types of vehicles as impractical and with very narrow appeal to consumers. I hear these comments from Honda and am surprised they ever produced the Insight or the NSX.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    GM is now stating that the Saturn Vue will probably be the first PHEV to hit the market in 2010. The battery pack will be considerably smaller than the Volt's, only providing 10 miles of all electric driving at low speeds. It will also incorporate GM's two-mode hybrid drive system. GM's claim is that this vehicle will double the fuel efficiency of any current SUV. Unlike the Volt it will not be driven solely by electric motors but by a combination of electric and ICE depending on the driving conditions. Personally I see this configuration as being inferior to the Volt's but it probably represents fewer engineering hurdles and will allow GM to have bragging rights as being first to the market with a PHEV.

    saturn vue
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think it is GMs way of saying the Li-Ion is FAR from ready for prime time. Toyota is very non-committal and rightly so. They have enough to contend with Prius fires. They don't need the Li-Ion frying some poor sucker. I know you are optimistic. More so than I am. I may dabble in converting my old 99 Ranger to electric. My neighbor loves to mess with old cars and has a big shop. I think I would stick with NiMH for a while yet. If I could get a 50 mile range with my Ranger at freeway speeds I would be tickled. More research is needed. I have just about given up on diesel for small PU trucks.
  • michael2003michael2003 Member Posts: 144
    According to the GM-Volt website, it appears that the validation testing of the current batteries provided by LG Chem are on a roll. So far they've satisfied the testing criteria and the lead engineer has indicated that he firmly believes that they have a winner. Testing of the A123 battery is shortly to begin. I guess we'll see if their provided battery is as promising! I sure hope so. Competition rocks. :)
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    I think it is GMs way of saying the Li-Ion is FAR from ready for prime time

    Define FAR. Anway, GM's press releases indicate they plan on using a Li-ion battery pack in the Saturn Vue PHEV.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Seems that there must be something magical about 2010. Maybe it's because a movie was made with that title? :shades:

    Alternate Route commented on The Target
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Testing of the A123 battery is shortly to begin. I guess we'll see if their provided battery is as promising! I sure hope so. Competition rocks.

    I agree. These companies are competing for a very lucrative prize, so they're highly motivated. And it's not like improvements will halt once GM decides on a battery for the Volt. I believe battery development will be a very dynamic field for quite some time.

    Here's an interesting article on new Li-ion battery technology. Sounds like it's still off in the distant future but if it ever makes it's way to EVs a 200 lb battery pack could provide a range of around 400 miles.

    nano Li-ion
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Those fires were all from the Generation 1 Prius, and as far as I know, it was never concluded in any of the cases that the traction battery ITSELF was the cause. Could have been an electrical short.

    Toyota would not put 1 million PLUS hybrids on the road with dangerous, self-combusting batteries. That would be corporate suicide.

    And with 40+ Billion dollars in the bank, Toyota is not likely to commit Hari-Kari any time soon...............
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    It's interesting that the utilities that will be providing the power for these plug-ins are very supportive of the technology. They've got an abundance of electricity at night that they'd love to be selling. Will people actually charge these vehicles at night? For the most part, yes. Say you had 2 gas stations, one that charged $3/gallon and one that charged $1/gallon, which one would get more business? On most days an EV owner will have total discretion as to when he recharges. Common sense dictates he'll do it when it's cheapest just like common sense tells me that people will be more likely to buy $1/gallon gas than $3/gallon.

    Even public recharging stations that are used during the day don't need to be drawing from the grid at that time. These stations could have their own, very large, bank of batteries that was charged at night and would now be drawn on to recharge vehicles. Altairnano has already developed and delivered a 1 mega-watt-hour battery that could be used for this purpose.

    I haven't lived in CA for quite some time. Do they still have rolling blackouts?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Are you really surprised that the electric power generating industry is interested in a new customer thatr's going to be purchasing their product?
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Are you really surprised that the electric power generating industry is interested in a new customer thatr's going to be purchasing their product?

    Absolutely not, it only makes sense. However for utilities to be interested in this new customer implies that they have available product to sell. To hear some people talk you'd think that wasn't the case.

    The utility companies' position is that this vast amount of excess capacity at night represents an untapped resource. Right now it also represents an inefficient use of the utility's assets since they have to keep these power plants running at night even though they aren't selling much electricity. Also, the more kilowatt-hours a plant can sell the quicker it will pay for itself. Theoretically this could drive down the cost of electricity since part of that cost goes to recouping the initial investment. I'm not holding my breath on that one.

    There are a lot of knowledgeable groups promoting EVs and PHEVs that have a very good understanding of the grids present and future capacities. Not all of these groups have a financial interest in promoting this technology. The basis of this argument against EVs seems to be very simplistic. We've had brown-outs therefore that proves there is no available electricity to charge these vehicles. I guess we'll be finding out who's right in the not too distant future.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Common sense dictates he'll do it when it's cheapest just like common sense tells me that people will be more likely to buy $1/gallon gas than $3/gallon.

    I just scrutinized my latest SDG&E bill. There is no lower rate any time of day or night. It is a progressive rate. The more you use the higher the rate per KWH. The base lowest rate is up to 380 KWH. It starts at a little over 11 cents per KWH. My top rate last month was over 19 cents per KWH. There are some other charges all on a progressively higher scale. So yes they may want us to use more especially at night. It would not save me any money whether I plug in during the day or night. My Hawaii electric bill is also progressive only much higher KWH rate.

    It looks to me like we would be paying a much higher rate for charging our EV.

    A lot of generation is shut down during low draw periods. That is when maintenance is performed. The utility where I worked only brought generators up to meet the load. On diesel engines it is not good to run without a load. Not sure how they do with coal fired steam turbines.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    I'm currently living in MD and my electric bill doesn't have any breakdown in terms of peak or off-peak hours. It simply shows how many kWh or energy I used and charges me accordingly. Based upon that I would assume it doesn't matter when I use this electricity. However I've seen multiple sources that indicate electricity is cheaper during off-peak hours. I need to do some research on this.

    I don't think that power plants can efficiently shut down. They can reduce their production but not to a level that matches demand. So there is some waste involved.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    The comment I found most interesting in this article was in regards to the OEMtek's BREEZ. Toyota stated that if this mod was done correctly it would not void the warranty. If that's true it represents another big departure from Toyota's previous position regarding PHEVs. However at $12,500 it's a modification that very few Prius owners will be making.

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    The BREEZ looks like a better implementation with a 60 MPH battery only speed. I have to agree that anyone paying $12,500 is in it for fun rather than practicality. I could have a lot of fun in a $37,500 BMW Z4.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    wow 30-35 all electric? That is pretty great. Downside might be reduced trunk space. If it pans out --performance..reliability..longevity-- that is proof of concept for toyota.
  • tranhv68tranhv68 Member Posts: 2
    Don't forget that the batteries used in the OEMTek's BREEZ is from Valence Technology. They are of the lithium phosphate type and are MUCH safer than the cobalt-oxide lithium ion used in applications like the Tesla. Also, they weigh much less (209 lbs) and their form factor allows trunk placement without loss of trunk space. Also, don't forget that the price will come down with increased production and economies of scale. Factor in rapidly rising gasoline prices and the argument for plugin hybrids becomes more and more compelling. I have included a very interesting video from their website.

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Welcome to the Forum,

    Interesting video. I guess you would be running a real risk driving your Tesla on the LA freeways with all the random bullets flying around.

    I'm still waiting to hear the pricing. I don't think it will be cheap.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    But rather recharge cycles and heat buildup.

    Pardon me if this has been addressed, but Li-Ion is known for allowing around 500 charge/discharge cycles before they start to lose their capability to hold a charge. I have also noticed that if you leave a Li-Ion plugged in (like a laptop), it will hold not a charge as well, but that could be addressed by making sure that the battery was not constantly topped off.

    This is in contrast to NiMh, which do not have any such issues.

    Sure, they have high energy density, but for how long?
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Interesting article about a fairly new company and their Li-ion batteries.

    A123 batteries
This discussion has been closed.