The state of New York has awarded a contract to Hybrids Plus to build a plug-in Ford Escape Hybrid. The intent of the program is to evaluate the viability of plug-in hybrids and how much of an environmental benefit can be achieved on an SUV. The Escape will be tested for use in the New York state vehicle fleet. Five other hybrid vehicles are also being converted and tested. If testing works out, all of the 400 plus hybrids that New York has could end up being converted.

Boulder, Colorado based Hybrids Plus is doing the conversion with testing help from Rome, NY based ShurePower. ShurePower installs plug-in stations at truck stops, rest areas and other public areas. Hybrids Plus began operations last June and got their first conversion contract from the state of Colorado in July. Currently their conversions are a little on the steep side pricewise. A conversion that provides 15 miles of range on battery power at less than 34 mph runs $24,000. A larger battery that provides 30 miles of battery range bumps the price to $32,500. The press release from Hybrids Plus is after the jump.

[Source: Hybrids Plus]

Hybrids Plus, Inc. to Convert a Ford Escape Hybrid Electric Vehicle to a Plug-in for New York State Fleet PHEV Technology Initiative

BOULDER, CO [December 20, 2006] – The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded Hybrids Plus, Inc., working in partnership with ShurePower, Inc., a contract to convert a Ford Escape hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) to a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. This project, as part of the New York State Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Technology Initiative, is proving the viability of PHEV technology and the related environmental benefits when applied to the sport utility vehicle (SUV). The major benefit of converting an HEV to a PHEV is increased reliance on clean electric power and significantly improved gasoline mileage per gallon. This increase yields a lower fuel and operating cost, reduced CO2 emissions for lower environmental impact, and reduced dependence on foreign oil sources. After converting the Ford Escape Hybrid the PHEV conversion kit will undergo testing and qualification for deployment in the New York State-owned vehicle fleet, and Hybrids Plus will be positioned to offer PHEV conversions to NYSERDA and other owners of hybrid SUV models, a major market in the .

"New York State seeks to accelerate the adoption and use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the State fleet and as personal vehicles. We, at NYSERDA, are pleased to work with Hybrids Plus to convert the Ford Escape Hybrid to plug-in service," said Peter R. Smith, NYSERDA president and CEO. He also noted that "five other vehicles are being converted for testing and evaluation before potentially moving on to the other 400-plus hybrid units already in the State fleet."

"Converting HEVs to PHEVs helps minimize the impact of transportation on the environment. Bringing plug-in conversion technology to SUV Hybrids promises to produce even more environmentally friendly vehicles in the future," said Carl Lawrence, president of Hybrids Plus.

"PHEV development is a promising new technology that will reduce petroleum consumption and associated emissions from the transportation sector. Our modular components can be used to quickly install weather-proof charging outlets in parking lots and wherever else PHEVs are parked," stated Jeff Kim, Chief Operating Officer, ShurePower, Inc.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a public benefit corporation created in 1975 by the New York State Legislature to promote research and development and environmental protection activities. For more information on NYSERDA and its programs, visit www.nyserda.org or call 1-866-NYSERDA

ShurePower, of Rome, NY, with offices in Portland, Oregon and Washington, DC, will assist Hybrids Plus in the evaluation and testing of the conversion. Offering tremendous economic and environmental advantage, ShurePower presently deploys Truck Stop Electrification Technologies-a plug-in infrastructure at truck stops, rest areas, travel plazas, warehouses, and truck depots which provides the electricity needs of long haul drivers without having to idle engines. For more information, visit www.shurepower.com.

Hybrids Plus, based in Boulder, Colorado, is one of a very few corporations dedicated to the conversion of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The company launched its first prototype conversion of a Toyota Prius for the State of Colorado Office of Energy Management in September 2006. Presently the firm focuses on converting HEV vehicles for: government entities, utility companies, corporate and industrial fleets, non-profit organizations, and consumers. The result is a vehicle that can efficiently 'plug in, charge up, and drive on™.' For more information, visit www.hybrids-plus.com.


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