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Old 07-01-2008, 12:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Chevy S10 vs. Geo Metro vs Prius - electric

I started doing some number crunching on what is the best vehicle to convert to electric PHEV. I have to assume I will be using WET LEAD batteries (aka golf cart battery technology). Here is what I have so far:

1) Chevy S10 total cost over five years including conversion is $20500
(assuming $4500 for truck purchase)

2) Geo Metro same conversion is $19,500 (assuming $4500 for purchase)

3) Toyota Prius used (dead battery) is $18,000 (assuming $10,000 for purchase)

But I did not calculate selling the engines out of the Chevy and the Geo, so maybe a little cheaper with them.

The numbers above assume:
A) WET LEAD batteries bought new every year for $1000
B) $150 in electricity per year for each vehicle

I am kind of liking the PRIUS idea as it can run unlimited mileage, as it has a built-in charging system.

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Old 07-01-2008, 02:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Prius would indeed be nice, and there is a large core of people modifying them...

But then that's not too unique,
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The Prius will have better aftermarket support and parts will be much more available. The Metro will be a more efficient PEV than the S-10, all other things equal. If your range is too great, you'll need the S-10 for the weight of the batteries. If you've got the money to spend and your daily commute is under 50 miles, I'd go with the PEV Metro, no questions.
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What do you need from a vehicle? Do you need to haul stuff with a pickup, or do you mainly just drive yourself around?

As for the Prius with dead battery, check salvage yards for replacement. (I just replaced my out of warranty Insight battery with a salvage one, for $250 + shipping.) Then either drive it, sell it to finance the EV conversion, or do a plugin conversion.
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offroad1994 View Post
3) Toyota Prius used (dead battery) is $18,000 (assuming $10,000 for purchase)
The Kelley Blue Book range for a Prius is from $13,300 and up, depending on model. The batteries have long warranties (150,000 miles regardless of age in California) and the replacement battery packs have dropped in price to $3,000 from Toyota. I haven't seen any for sale with "dead batteries", but you might be able to find one in your target range. At $3,000 for a NImH battery pack from Toyota, it might make more sense to add an additional one to the Prius to increase the range you can drive it at 38 mph on electric (that's about the highest speed you can drive it without the ICE coming on, and I've driven several miles in EV mode). There are aftermarket "EV Switch" kits that allow you to use electric power only, and aftermarket battery packs to make it a plug in hybrid (but they are expensive at about $10,000).
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fshagan View Post
There are aftermarket "EV Switch" kits that allow you to use electric power only, and aftermarket battery packs to make it a plug in hybrid (but they are expensive at about $10,000).
Saw the battery packs for $10,000 and they are the LITHIUM-ION rechargable types. Trying to find a WET LEAD ACID conversion kit version for a PRIUS to extend its range; at a lower DO-IT-YOURSELF overall price of maybe $3500 total. Someone must have done this design already, so any suggested links?

Thanks for the point about EV switch, as I did not realize that is a 38 MPH only maximum option.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The more I read the more I think this is a blind alley and a fools errand to do this. Where I live I have temperatures half the year at less than 60 degrees F. So the batteries will be weaker in LEAD ACID configuration.

Also reading that the weight of the kits for a Pruis knock off about 10% of the MPG when in ICE mode. I think I might be better invested to get a cheap Geo Metro and optimize MPG.
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offroad1994 View Post
Saw the battery packs for $10,000 and they are the LITHIUM-ION rechargable types. Trying to find a WET LEAD ACID conversion kit version for a PRIUS to extend its range; at a lower DO-IT-YOURSELF overall price of maybe $3500 total. Someone must have done this design already, so any suggested links?

Thanks for the point about EV switch, as I did not realize that is a 38 MPH only maximum option.
There's a lot of info on extender mods at priuschat.com ... a pretty good site. There are a couple of people who have done the EV switch mod (that allows you to run on electric until it runs out, no matter the speed). The Prius will also cruise at any speed on electric on flat ground or downhill, but over 38 anytime you press the pedal down more it starts up and engages the ICE (I may be off a couple MPH there ... I can only get 38 MPH.)
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offroad1994 View Post
The more I read the more I think this is a blind alley and a fools errand to do this. Where I live I have temperatures half the year at less than 60 degrees F. So the batteries will be weaker in LEAD ACID configuration.

Also reading that the weight of the kits for a Pruis knock off about 10% of the MPG when in ICE mode. I think I might be better invested to get a cheap Geo Metro and optimize MPG.
Its very hard to do it for economy's sake; its almost always cheaper to buy an older small car and aero-mod it like they do on this site and use some of the hyper-mile techniques to get MPG up into the 40's. Even at double today's gas prices, it would take a lot of driving to make up for an extra $10,000.

And cold weather affects the Prius as well. If you want a heater, the heat has to come from somewhere, and your mileage suffers.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:52 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fshagan View Post
Its very hard to do it for economy's sake; its almost always cheaper to buy an older small car and aero-mod it like they do on this site and use some of the hyper-mile techniques to get MPG up into the 40's. Even at double today's gas prices, it would take a lot of driving to make up for an extra $10,000.

And cold weather affects the Prius as well. If you want a heater, the heat has to come from somewhere, and your mileage suffers.
Forgot the cold weather - heater needed issue. You are absolutely correct. What if you need AC when it is above 85 degrees? Rolling down the windows justs eats up your MPG and makes no sense.

Also forgot the CHARGER issue for the batteries. You can not just charge them with a 12V charger. You need to buy a special charger. And from what I read, it is really bad to drop the battery charge below 40% as that kills some kinds of batteries (and is why the whole EV switch thing for a Prius is a bad idea?). Think about running your battery down way beyond the 40% charge, and what that does to kill your battery. Is this why we do not see Toyota just adding batteries, and calling it and EV prius option?

Every issue together just says that an AERO-MOD is the best of all worlds, per the financial math.


Last edited by offroad1994; 07-02-2008 at 04:16 PM..
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