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Old 11-08-2012, 08:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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EV conversion vs. installing PHEV kit on a hybrid

Currently my wife and I have two cars: the Toyota Matrix that we use as a family (us + 2 children) and the eBooger (my low range DIY commuter EV).

I have always wanted to do a high budget EV conversion - one that my wife can pile the kids in and not worry about - and keep the Matrix for long trips. But now I don't know.

Options:

1. Used Camry/Escape hybrid ($15K) + PHEV kit ($8K) = $23K.

or

2. Used [insert decent used car here] ($5K) + EV conversion ($15K) = $20K.

Option 1: better highway economy on longer trips (vs using the Matrix). Benefits of EV on short trips and for the first 25 km of long trips. Better all around vehicle.

Option 2: more of a challenge (if you like challenges!). Full EV with 100-120 km range for decent sized trips. Requires keeping the Matrix for longer trips.

What are people's thoughts?

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Old 11-09-2012, 12:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I like buying someone else's used EV because you tend to end up about $10,000 ahead.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd look into a Prius if I were you. If the Matrix is working good for you, you don't need to go to a Camry/Escape. The Prius is just about identical to the Matrix size wise. That, and you can get them for way less than a Camry/Escape hybrid.

Keep in mind that EV mode with any of the hybrids you've mentioned (with a PHEV kit) will be pretty limited as their top speed in EV mode is fairly low. The 2nd gen Prius has a top speed of 34 mph in EV mode. I'm not sure about the Camry or Escape.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I vote Prius as well... Or.... If its the challenge you're after, why not pick up the rear drivetrain from an awd matrix and fit an electric motor to the diff... That would make for an awesome phev/hybrid combo. (That setup is my dream ecomodder!)
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
I like buying someone else's used EV because you tend to end up about $10,000 ahead.
I never thought of that. I would be too scared of adopting something not put together right, but I guess a good look over would make it less risky.

According to Plug-In Conversion Kits for Prius, Escape, Highlander, Camry | Plug-In Supply the top EV speed can be raised in hybrids:
Quote:
From our first lead-acid systems onwards we gave customers the ability to drive in pure EV mode faster than 34 MPH.
I will agree that the Prius is the most cost effective option, but in my opinion they are too fug-ugly. I am talking about the gen 2 version. The most recent one isn't bad, and the Prius V is actually pretty good.

I can't believe how low the prices of brand new ones have become.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nbleak21 View Post
If its the challenge you're after, why not pick up the rear drivetrain from an awd matrix and fit an electric motor to the diff... That would make for an awesome phev/hybrid combo.
That would be similar to the setup used in the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, and the CitroŽn DS5 Hybrid4 which is the current Presidential Car in France. Anyway, another interesting layout as a challenge would be some hub-motors.

Anyway, instead of just converting a random used car to all-electric I'd consider to bolt a portable genset making it a parallel-hybrid, then it won't be so compromised mileage-wise (and you could still use it at home in case of power shortage).
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If you go for either hybrid route, toyota or honda or brand X you can always get if not make a plug in kit for a few thousand. I have the enginer one and with the flip of a switch I get 10 mo mpg for 4 hours of use til it needs to be recharged. With a Toyota product you can use it in EV mode for a few miles, however its still limited in acceleration rate, speed, etc.

WIth the hybrid you can do both, drive cross country or ev only down the road and back. With an EV, you cant go cross country.
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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In option 1, you no longer need the Matrix so you can deduct its value from the cost which may make that option a better deal. Thanks for the link to the Plug in supply site. If their system really does raise the top speed for EV mode, that would make it much more attractive. I read somewhere recently, though, that the electric motor in the Prius (possibly others as well) could be damaged in the long term by forcing it to overspeed. I don't know if that is true or not.

In option 2, if you waited for a newer car with a blown engine,I think you could cut that $5000 down to under $2000. Also, do you really need 100-120km range. If you do then you do, but have you actually tracked how far and how fast your trips are to verify that you need that range? you might be able to save a little there too which may offset the cost of having three cars.

Which is better,it could be either one. I think it really depends on your personal needs and likes. How many kms you drive city vs highway, how many kms/yr, which one will save you more in the long run and whether or not you really want to do another conversion, all need to be factored in.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechman600 View Post
According to Plug-In Conversion Kits for Prius, Escape, Highlander, Camry | Plug-In Supply the top EV speed can be raised in hybrids:
They do this by bypassing the safety features that protect the HSD motor/generators. I personally would never do this.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
They do this by bypassing the safety features that protect the HSD motor/generators. I personally would never do this.
I wondered about this because I knew the EV speed limit was for protection. Isn't the EV limit for the latest Prius 62 mph?

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