Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) offer the best and worst of conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles and Battery Electric vehicles (BEV). They offer the best in that they have the advantages of being able to run strictly on electricity for short range trip but still have the unlimited range of an ICE vehicle. They have the disadvantage of both in that they are very complex. They have all the systems of both vehicles and that integration is both complex and relatively heavy. Examples of commercially available PHEVs are the Chevrolet Volt, Prius PHEV, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi with manufactures bringing more models to market all the time. All of these vehicles have both a ICE and an electric motor with all the sub systems that go along with each. The batteries in the vehicles have enough energy for between 12-40 miles of driving and after the battery is depleted then the ICE kicks in for virtually unlimited range.
In my opinion PHEVs are the transitional technology needed to get the general public to accept electric vehicles as a viable alternative to petroleum powered vehicles. Currently most people drive their cars less than 40 miles per day. Studies have shown that in the U.S. 78% of the people commute less than 40 miles per day which is well within the driving distance of all commercially available BEVs. Studies also show that the Average american household has 2.28 vehicles. Clearly both vehicles in most house holds don’t need to be ICE powered cars with unlimited range. If you want to take a long trip, take the ICE powered vehicle but for commuting to work and errands around town electric power is much more efficient and much more convenient. What we have is a perception issue and in this case perception is reality. Americans, and probably most people in developed nations, perceive that they drive farther than they do and that their car needs unlimited range (range anxiety). It doesn’t matter what the facts say, their buying decisions are limited by their perceptions and that is were PHEVs come in. PHEVs give the buyer the convenience of a BEV while giving them the ICE unlimited range safety net. It allows them to experience ot going to a gas station and being able to fill up in their garage while they sleep. After a year with a PHEV and not going to a gas station except on a long trip they start to understand how much they really drive and that other options may work just as well, or better, than an ICE powered vehicle.
Northwest Plug It In is currently working to help fill this PHEV niche for individuals that currently own a hybrid vehicle but desire a PHEV. I am currently assembling the parts to convert my Gen II 2007 Prius to a PHEV. I will post more after the conversion with performance data. Goal is to have a 25-30 mile all electric range, 70 mph all eclectic speed and better than 100 mpg with normal hybrid operation. I had hoped to have the conversion completed by the end of September 2013 but like most development projects they take longer than expected. I have purchased the batteries and control electronics. The battery box has been designed and is being built. The last big piece I need to get is the charger which I hope to order next week. We are making progress.
Once I have the conversion done, assuming it all works as planned and I have data to show what the system is capable of, I will be offering it as a product on the website.
If you wish to be kept informed of our progress send me a email through the contact us forms on the home page, in the footer or at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will put you on our email list and send you updates about our progress.
Dry fit the batteries into the battery box I had built for my 2007 Prius PHEV conversion today. 78 CALB CA40 cells, 10.14KW. Batteries fit well. Future boxes will be a little smaller but at this point in product development I would rather have to much room instead of not enough. Also fit the box into the Prius. Fit well. The top of the box will be about one inch higher than the current floor in the rear of the car so but the area will be flat so not a lot of space lost. With future boxes I should be able to trim that down about ¾ of an inch so the floor stays about the same.
I just picked up the battery box for my Prius conversion. Took a little longer than I hoped but it is the first one and that always takes longer. I thought the firm did a real nice job routing the logo into the box top. He left the front edge of the box square so I can add a led light bar and the logo should light up nicely. Of course a customer could put their own image, or none at all, on their box lid.
Stay tuned for updates