has just released its new $4995 kit which converts your 2004-2008
into a Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV). Because the system is based on the Cal Cars reference design and uses lead-acid batteries as opposed to the more expensive lithium or nickel-based batteries, this new kit is cheaper than many other PHEV conversion options. According to Plug-In Supply, the kit will allow your Prius to operate in electric-only mode for up to fifteen miles and at speeds of up to fifty-two miles per hour. Getting 15 miles out of a lead acid pack will be a real stretch given that
is only getting eight with a NiMH pack in its prototype PHEV Priuses. Getting a Prius up to 52 mph on batteries will also take a long time with the size of the electric motor used and all of this will absolutely, possitively void any
you may have left. The lead-acid batteries which help make this new kit relatively affordable aren't likely to last the life of the vehicle. Therefore, the pack has been designed to be upgradeable to lithium batteries in the future. Due to the 360-pound weight of the included battery pack, heavy-duty springs have also been made available for the rear of the Prius.
While it still may not make
sound economic sense
, this kit proves that the costs associated with creating PHEVs is going down. Those living in California, though, might be hard-pressed to purchase a kit such as this if CARB passes its
, as kits using lead-acid batteries may find it rather difficult to meet some of the proposed requirements.