A company based in California has announced that starting in February, they can convert your 2004-2009 model Prius into a plug-in hybrid electric car that can go 40 miles on battery power alone, or get 100+ miles per gallon when driven in “enhanced Prius” mode.
Jungle Motors is already the largest electric vehicle conversion shop in Orange County, California. They can take virtually any car and convert it to all-electric, but specialize in converting old Porsches and PT Cruisers. They’ve actually been converting Priuses into plug-in hybrids for a while using lead-acid batteries. That’s old hat at this point.
Their current innovation is that, starting in February 2009, they’ll be using next generation Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, or LifePO4, instead of Lead-Acid. With the LifePO4 batteries, the converted Prius will deliver 40+ miles of engineless range. Over 70% of drivers in the United States drive less than 40 miles every day.
The conversion involves adding both batteries and new hardware. When the conversion is complete the driver has 3 driving options — Normal Prius Mode, Enhanced Prius Mode and Battery-only Mode. In the Normal Mode, the vehicle performs like a stock Prius getting over 40 miles per gallon. In a blend of Enhanced and Battery-only Modes, the car delivers over 100 mpg. And in the Battery-only Mode it becomes a fully Electric Vehicle (EV).
The conversion kits start at $4,995 dollars and, if you’re local, installation is also available.