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Old 12-18-2009, 11:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
Left Lane Ecodriver
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA
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Prius C - '12 Toyota Prius C
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To get the most miles out of every kWh and gallon, you want the car to be as small and aerodynamic as possible, so hatchback > pickup. You should pick a car that can be converted to manual power steering, since DIY electric power steering is reinventing the wheel. Manual brakes are a bonus.

You should read about Mike Dabrowski's DIY through-the-road hybrid, which is a hybrid of neighborhood electric vehicle and 1st gen Insight. It's simple, easily reversed, and if something goes wrong with it, the car's original powertrain is unaffected.

You should carefully consider what you want to do with regenerative braking, and how often you'll use it. Hypermilers who have the road to themselves seldom brake. I, OTOH, use regen in traffic and highway offramps every day. The regenerative braking on the Insight is 10KW. It'll have to do, but I wish it were stronger/faster.

* Would the engine have enough friction to greatly affect EV mode performance?
Yes. Just look at how fast your car slows down in DFCO vs EOC.
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