Sure, it's cool to show how your Prius runs up to 1 mile in electric mode. But wouldn't you really rather have a bigger battery that you could plug in to recharge, so you could travel 10 miles or more on pure (and cheaper) grid power?
Well, now's your chance. You can bid on eBay for a 2007 Toyota Prius that's been converted to a plug-in, with a battery pack that holds far more energy than the standard Prius--and recharges from the electric socket in your garage.
The Hymotion kit not only fits under the load deck, it also complies with the same rear-crash and emissions standards as any new car.
The auction ends just before 7 pm Pacific (10 pm Eastern) on Tuesday, February 17. It's located at Green Motors in Berkeley, California.
This car was converted last month using the Hymotion kit, so it's based on A123 lithium-ion cells rather than the standard Prius nickel-metal-hydride chemistry that offers only half the energy density. The Hymotion installation complies with the same emissions rules and crash-test requirements as any new car, so it's not just any old Prius with a box of cells lashed into the trunk. And it's got a three-year warranty to boot.
2007 Toyota Prius plug-in Hymotion conversion
Like all five-figure dealer cars on eBay, this one has been detailed to within an inch of its life. But it's the desirable Package 6 trim level, with leather seats, backup camera, and all sorts of other goodies. And with just 14,800 miles, this car has lots of life left in it despite being two model years old.
Unlike series hybrids (or "extended-range electric vehicles") like the upcoming 2011 Chevrolet Volt, though, the electric range on any Prius conversion isn't necessarily continuous. The engine may come on at any time to assist the battery pack under heavy loads, like climbing a lengthy grade when fully loaded.
Toyota plans to offer a plug-in version of its current Prius toward the end of the year, with an electric range of up to 15 miles.
Green Motors, Berkeley, California