Plug-In Hybrid Kits from Hymotion

Just one day after President Bush busily touted his new "Advanced Energy Initiative" with talk of solar-powered homes and plug-in hybrids, Canadian company Hymotion introduced plug-in hybrid kits (PHEV) for the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner. This odd coincidence owes itself to the fact that this week is also the Canadian International AutoShow; if the President is scouting Canadian car technology to structure his energy policy, his priorities are even further out of order than we thought...but we digress. The kits are made up of a lithium-ion battery system that can be recharged by plugging it into a regular household electrical outlet; when the car is being driven, the supplemental system is recharged from the engine and regenerative braking. If the PHEV battery is depleted, the vehicle resumes normal operation using the factory-installed battery. The addition of the battery pack does not change the basic operation of the vehicles -- all electric-operation is still limited to low speeds -- though it does significantly increase the power and range in which the battery can help the gas engine along (thus reducing gas consumption even further). Initially, Hymotion is offering the PHEV upgrade in two models: the 5kWh L5 for the Prius and the 12kWh L12 for the Ford hybrid SUVs. This innovation is not cheap, so the company is targeting fleet buyers before individual consumers. In quantities greater than 100, the Prius L5 is US $9,500; quantities over 1,000 drop the price to US $6,500. No word yet on the pricing for the Ford models, but since it's more than twice as powerful, it will carry an even higher price tag. ::Hymotion, ::Hymotion press release [PDF] via ::Green Car Congress