Plug-in hybrid Pruck – Click above for image gallery
Is that a Priamino up there? A Priuja? A prickup? Nope, it's something dubbed the Pruck, a Prius truck, by its builder, Steve Woodruff. Naturally, the very first question one must ask in this situation is, "what kind of gas mileage does it get?" The answer, according to the website dedicated to showing off the Prius/Subaru Baja, um, hybrid, is, "40.8 mpg easily before a PHEV conversion." We asked Woodruff what that meant, exactly, and he told AutoblogGreen that, when used in blended mode, the ICE will assist the electric powertrain to get close to 89 miles per gallon. Without the electric assist, and when using premium fuel, the Pruck gets 43 mpg, Woodruff said. Over the past 743 miles that Woodruff has been driving the Pruck, it's gotten 39.4 mpg. So, it isn't as efficient at the 2006 Prius that originally made up the front half, but it does gain a lot of utility from the Baja bed. Nothing wrong with that, right?
So, what's in that powertrain? Woodruff said it uses a 10 kWh lithium iron phosphate (LiFeP04) pack from Plug-in Supply that is being loaned to him, "until I install a pack of my own design." Perhaps because he's worried about faults with the forthcoming DIY pack, the plug-in hybrid electric system has an off switch. Right now, the pack will push the Pruck along for around 40 miles of electric-only driving at low speeds and, at 52 miles per hour, Woodruff said, it'll go 15 miles. (this post continues after the jump)
[Source: AutoBeYours, Jalopnik]
Woodruff said when he's cruising down the street in his unique PHEV, " most teenagers really like it and say it is cool," and that "the delivery people all want it to save money." On weekly gas charges, maybe, but Woodruff spent $8,500 just on the Pruck's electronics. Then there was the conversion work and Woodruff said, "I spent a few days carefully installing the Prius battery cooling fan and ductwork inside the extended quarter panel of the Pruck." You can see pictures of the building/conversion process in the gallery below. Be careful, though, it ain't pretty. Looking through said gallery, astute readers will notice two gas doors. One remains where the gasoline goes while the other hides a charging port. Woodruff said the battery takes around four to six hours to charge.
Finally, one last question, because maybe, just maybe, some of you are wondering why someone would build a vehicle like this. Woodruff's answer is simple: He built the Pruck for himself after the Convertable Prius, which he enjoyed driving, was sold and because, "I needed extra room behind the seat for my 10kw/h battery pack." As for the aesthetics of the thing, Woodruff couldn't care less about what you think. As he told Jalopnik, "I built it for myself, and I'm the only one I have to please."
Now that the Pruck is mostly done, does Woodruff have anything else up his sleeve? Of course he does. The next project is to convert a first-gen Honda insight to all-electric drive.