In October, we noticed a Prius in an Ener1 video and predicted Ener1 was working on a plug-in Prius. Later, we read in SEC files that Ener1 would show a demonstration car in December and questioned if the Prius was that car. Turns out we were right, almost. That car in the video did use Ener1's batteries but it was not a plug-in and there is a difference.
Ener1 released a press release today that said they were the first to integrate a lithium-ion battery into a HEV (hybrid electric vehicle). The first? What about all those PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles)? Aren't they just HEVs with a plug? I contacted Ener1 and they schooled me on the differences. Jerry Herlihy, Ener1's Chief Financial Officer, explained:

The battery for HEV is very different than PHEV. It requires power rather than energy density; it requires a large number of cycles; it needs to be safe; it requires a high C rate (time to charge and discharge); it needs to cold crank; it needs to operate in low temperatures, etc. And it has to be affordable.

And Ener1 will be affordable. According to the press release, a video tape of the test drive of the Prius will be made available to the press and the video will be at the Ener1 website soon. Third party testing of the batteries' performance in the Prius will be released the first quarter of 2008. The Ener1 battery gives twice as much power to the Prius electric motor and the increase in performance is expected to be substantial. Ener1 will also give a presentation to registered participants at EVS-23 today. AutoblogGreen's Sebastian is at EVW23, so stay tuned for reports directly from the show floor.

[Source: Ener1 press release]

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