Now here's a guy that knows how to build a plug-in Prius. I don't mean he just has the technical expertise, which Horacio seems to have in spades, I mean he knows how to build one for only $4000.
I met Horacio at HybridFest. He doesn't consider himself a hypermiler, but he is concerned about the environment and tries to be as ecologically friendly as possible. As a member of the Long Island Prius Owners Group, he and many other members enjoy trading ideas and implementing ways of improving the Prius in one way or another. Thus, adding a heap of batteries, some multimedia extras and a plug in the bumper became a popular idea and was made a reality by Horacio Calvento. Fortunately for him, he is in the retail electronics business, which means he has working relationships with companies like Panasonic, Jayso Electronics and Manzanita Micro (previously seen here). With batteries donated by Panasonic, he instantly saved thousands of dollars. Since he did it himself or with the help of the occasional friend/hobbyist/enthusiast, there were no labor costs involved either except for time. And it only took him a few months. The result is a clean, crisp-looking Prius that gets a cool 88 mpg every day. Imagine what it could do in the hands of a hypermiler.
For those of you not gifted with a friendship with Panasonic, your task is made easier if not less expensive by Horacio's online instructions on the Owners Group website at the Read link. A brief gallery is below, and there are many more in-depth pictures at the aforementioned site.