Even if not everyone likes the Prius conversion aftermarket results, it can't be a bad thing that there is one more team out there willing to add batteries and a plug to your Prius, right? The WSJ recently profiled Daniel Sherwood and Paul Guzyk of Berkeley's 3Prong Power Inc., which will upgrade your Prius for about $7,000. That seven grand will get you an extra 5 kwh of power from 360 lbs of lead acid batteries (originally designed for electric wheelchairs), enough to go about 10 miles in electric-only mode. They also offer stiffer springs as an option to compensate for the extra weight. For more money (about double), you can choose li-ion batteries. Sherwood told the Journal that, "I don't know if Toyota meant to do it, but they gave us a car that's easy to hack into and easy to improve."
Improve, maybe, but that doesn't mean Toyota is ready to sell plug-in Priuses just yet. The rest of the WSJ article looks at the broader plug-in conversion movement, and we get this from Toyota's Jaycie Chitwood: "For plug-ins to be all encompassing and to replace basic hybrid technology, the electric grid would need to morph into something we don't have yet." The smart grid? A more robust (or green) network?
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