Get 120 MPG Out of Your Prius (Plug It In)

Prius, PHEV, EV, plug-in, electricity

55 MPG isn’t good enough for you? Then try adding a plug to your hybrid.

The electric-car company ZAP, in conjunction with Hybrids Plus, has announced it will offer plug-in hybrid conversions for the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape Hybrid:

Hybrid vehicles retrofitted with systems from Hybrids Plus of Boulder, Colorado can achieve a significantly greater fuel economy. In tests these systems increased hybrid fuel economy up to 120 miles per gallon in the city and up to 90 mpg on the highway. The cost for the conversion ranges from $24,000 to $36,000 depending on the vehicle and size of battery pack.

All gasoline electric hybrids currently produced by major automakers today are essentially gasoline-powered vehicles. They reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency compared to conventional cars, however they are fueled exclusively by gasoline. The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will allow the owner to charge their vehicle from a normal household wall outlet. By integrating a larger battery pack and a plug-in charging system, it becomes a new vehicle drawing energy from two fuel sources.

While doubling the price of your vehicle is not appealing to everyone, there are plenty of folks in the US who already pay this much for a new vehicle. Would I do it if I had $50,000 to blow? You bet.

But this is just the first step, and first steps are usually expensive. ZAP has plans in the works to offer new plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) right off the assembly line:

“This collaboration allows more hybrid owners to have the most efficient vehicles on the road today,” said ZAP CEO Steve Schneider. “ZAP dealers are preparing to offer a new level of service in the coming years involving mass-market hybrid and electric cars from Detroit Electric, so experience with plug-in hybrids can accelerate this process.”

Even though it sounds like a great idea, it’s hard to imagine these guys do enough business to stay afloat. For a cheaper option see yesterday’s post: Sick of Gas?: Convert Your Car To Run On Electricity.

Or you can just wait until 2010, when Toyota will release its own plug-in version of the Prius, and we’ll hopefully see GM’s plug-in, the long-awaited Chevy Volt.

Posts Related to Plug-in Hybrid Electric Cars:

Snapshot of Battery Technology for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Cars

Hybrid Hacks and Toyota Yawns?

A Biodiesel Prius? VW To Release 69.9 MPG Diesel Hybrid

Will Plug-In Hybrids Become the Standard?

via AutoBlogGreen and

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In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.