Dr. John Patten of Western Michigan University recently installed one of HyMotion's L5 plug-in conversion kits in his Toyota Prius as part of his work in educating people on alternative energy. The HyMotion kit is the first commercially available system that allows Priuses to become plug-in hybrids. Half of the total cost was paid for by the university with the rest coming from a Michigan Community Energy Project grant. Patten will conduct seminars and demonstrations at events around the state to help make people aware that the technology for plug-in hybrids is available. Patten also had a wind turbine installed at the school's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences to be used as part of his research into alternative and renewable energy. A student will also be working with the professor on analyzing energy data with the now pluggable-Prius.

Hopefully, Patten will also explain to people the limitations of such conversions. Unlike the Chevy Volt, say, the electric drive system in the Prius is not designed to provide full range electric operation. Anyone who has tried driving current hybrids in electric mode will be fully aware of the very light foot required to keep the engine from starting. A conversion like this will not yield a car that you can just unplug and driving normally without the engine for 30-40 miles. Nonetheless, this $10,000 kit can yield significant improvements in mileage. Learn more here.

[Source: Kalamazoo Gazette]

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