This is the first message posted to CalCars-News, the CalCars-PHEV Newsletter.
The latest version of this document is found in the Files area of this Group..
FACT SHEET for CalCars PRIUS+ Prototype #1 version 1.2 March 1, 2005
2. Performance data of current prototype
3. Future prototypes and consumer conversions
4. How and when can I get a PRIUS+?
5. About CalCars (sponsor of PRIUS+ Project)
6. Performance data of partnering groups' conversions (to come)
This summary of the conversion completed in Fall 2004 brings you up to
speed on what we've done -- and where we're heading. This Fact Sheet is a
work in progress (be sure you're reading the latest version). A neatly
formatted (currently 2-page version) is found at the calcars.org and
priusplus.org URLs.For the latest technical discussions, see the Conversion
Group. Join the Newsletter Group to keep up with the latest information.
Contact us if you're interested in becoming involved!
-Felix Kramer fkramer@... Founder, California Cars Initiative
-Ron Gremban rgremban@... -- Technical Lead, PRIUS+ Project
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/priusplus/ PRIUS+ PHEV Conversion Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news CalCars-PHEV Newsletter
http://www.calcars.org and http://www.priusplus.org
* Conversion platform is a stock 2004 Prius hybrid (HEV).
* Prius hybrid battery pack (Panasonic 6.5 Ah, 201.6 Volt, 99 lb/45kg.)
remains unused during PHEV operation and can be used in normal hybrid mode
as needed, e.g., for comparison (in future prototypes, this battery may be
* New battery pack, completely replacing Prius pack (for this temporary
first prototype, we used low-performance but resilient lead acid (PbA) for
testing purposes and to obtain design criteria for higher-performance
packs): 18 electric bicycle B&B 20Ah 12Volt SLA batteries from Electric
Rider (nominal 12 Ah, 2.4 kWh total at the car's high discharge rates, 216
Volt, 240 lb without associated hardware and components).
* Batteries positioned in empty well below hatchback deck, with independent
manually switchable air cooling system.
* Batteries recharged via standard 110-volt outlet in 3 hours, using Brusa
* Battery Management System and Controller/Display Unit (CDU) by Energy
Control Systems Engineering (EnergyCS) of Monrovia, CA. No change to Toyota
Hybrid System (THS) controls.
* Data from battery and CAN (Controller Area Network) bus interface.
Dashboard analog meters display battery voltage and current. EnergyCS
in-dash digital display includes battery voltage and current, Amp-hours
used from the battery, vehicle power requested (e.g. via throttle
position), battery state-of-charge (SOC) reported to the THS, and
thousandths of gallons of gasoline used per trip.
* State of Charge information sent to THS is set semi-automatically to
force energy use and regenerative braking regimen (automation will be
fine-tuned in future iterations).
* Configuration permits rapid reversion to standard hybrid operation using
the Prius's Battery Management System and retained original battery.
* Operation permits electric-only mode at up to 35 mph; above 35 mph,
battery energy continues to assist the engine, contributing to lower
gasoline consumption. The PbA battery is good for 10 all-electric miles, 20
assisted miles, or mixes of the two. Then operation reverts to normal HEV
mode, still using the new battery pack.
2. PHEV PERFORMANCE DATA WITH PBA BATTERIES
* Heavy lead-acid batteries add approx. 300 lb total, reducing mileage by
approx. 5 mpg in standard HEV operation on city streets (because of
acceleration losses), but by little or nothing at highway speeds (where
wind resistance is the main factor). Lower internal resistance of future
(lighter) battery packs is expected to increase the efficiency of standard
HEV operation sufficiently to restore original standard HEV city mileage
even when grid-charging energy is not involved.
Equivalent mpg numbers and operation costs depend on patterns of use (total
miles driven/day, speeds driven).
The following examples show improved performance (expected to be better
with lighter, more efficient batteries; plus, low PHEV and HEV mileage is
due to short runs, hilly Marin County terrain, and other local features):
* Under 10-mile all-electric propulsion (at under 35 mph), infinite mpg
(i.e., no gasoline use) plus 262 grid Watt-hours/mile vs. 50-60 mpg as a
* 14 mile round trips, including approx. 10 miles on hilly freeways: 58-105
mpg + 185-226 grid Wh/mi, compared to 34-38 actual HEV mpg on the same
course, driving with the extra battery weight -- otherwise maybe 37-41 mpg.
* 26-28 mile trips with lots of surface streets: 55-65 mpg +124-164 grid Wh/mi.
* Beyond 20 miles per day (40 miles per day with NiMH or 50+ miles/day with
Li-Ion batteries), normal HEV mileage -- except better mileage on long
descents due to ability to store more recovered energy -- and no further
All-electric miles: power cost approx. 1.25 cents/mile (assumption of 250
Wh/mi and 5 cents/kWh on California off-peak EV "E-9" (PG&E) rate, and not
amortizing battery cost), vs. approx. 4.5 cents/gasoline mile ($2/gallon,
45 mpg). Charging with otherwise unused and unsold photovoltaic power costs
zero/mile (not amortizing system cost).
3. FUTURE PROTOTYPES, POSSIBLE CONSUMER CONVERSIONS
* Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) (27Ah, 5.4 kWh, 225 lb extra after removal of
existing hybrid battery); up to 20 mile all-electric range or 40 mile
* Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) (35-40 Ah, 9 kWh, 160-190 lb extra after removal of
existing hybrid battery); up to 30 mile all-electric range or 60 mile
Improved performance as well as additional electric range can be expected
from the above batteries, due to significantly lower internal resistance
* Then, we hope, "installed kits" for purchase from 3rd-party
4. HOW AND WHEN CAN I GET A PRIUS+?
Thanks for asking. We've started a list to keep people up-to-date on the
progress of PRIUS+, CalCars, and "gas-optional" or "plug-in" hybrids
(PHEVs) in general. At http://groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news,
subscribe to the low-traffic CalCars-PHEV Newsletter, and watch our website
for our progress.
Though we do not yet have any information about when conversion options
will be available to individuals; when they do (from for-profit companies,
not directly from us), we expect they will be installed kits, with some
kind of warranty for the components, but we do expect the conversion will
void some or part of your Toyota warranty.
We expect to be able to convert 2004-2005 Prius (not early generations),
and, because they use a completely different design and have no EV-only
mode, we are devoting no attention to conversions of Honda Insight, Civic
or Accord hybrids. We do think conversions may be possible for Ford Escape,
Toyota Highlander, and Lexus RX-400 hybrids.
Meanwhile, we thank you in advance for your encouragement, we hope you'll
spread the word about our efforts. We ask that you support us by becoming a
Charter Sponsor (tax-deductible contribution of $95 or any other amount at
http://www.calcars.org/sponsor.html). And if you know of any individuals in
a position to discuss fleet purchases, provide us with more substantial
support or celebrity endorsements, please send them our way -- we are an
almost-entirely volunteer operation, and could do much more with additional
5. ABOUT CALCARS, SPONSOR OF THE PRIUS+ PROJECT
The California Cars Initiative (http://www.calcars.org) is a Palo
Alto-based nonprofit startup. We're a group of entrepreneurs, engineers and
other citizens promoting high-efficiency low-emission cars and harnessing
buyer demand to help commercialize advanced technologies. Somewhat
uniquely, we focus both on public policy and technology development.
We're demonstrating the immediate opportunity and benefits of what are
variously called "gas-optional or plug-in" hybrids (PHEVs). The next
generation of hybrid cars can be based entirely on existing components.
They're basically like some current hybrids but with larger batteries and
the ability to re-charge conveniently, so local travel is electric, yet the
vehicle has unlimited range. While hybrids may cut gasoline use by
on-third, PHEVS can cut out another third. We see it as the future pathway
to multi-fuel PHEVs, including biodiesel. And it makes hydrogen cars more
affordable by reducing the size of the fuel cell stack and the amount of
We've begun with a prototype conversion we call "PRIUS+" in the hopes of
persuading Toyota and other automakers to build PHEVs for a market we
expect to expand as the Kyoto Protocols and parallel state and
international greenhouse gas initiatives are phased in. We're working to
demonstrate demand initially from early adopter individuals and
institutions. We're working closely with other PHEV advocates to develop
fleet orders from utilities, government and private companies. With our
for-profit integration partners, we hope later this year to offer installed
conversion "kits" to celebrities and entrepreneurs. We're looking first at
cars that use Toyota's "Hybrid Synergy Drive" (Prius, Lexus, Highlander,
Nissan), followed by Ford's Escape and other forthcoming hybrids.
We're also involved in advocacy and public policy, bringing together the
growing attention given to this little-known technology (see our roundup at
http://www.calcars.org/kudos.html). We're educating the large market of car
buyers who will pay extra for green cars. We're presenting the benefits of
PHEVs, along with wind and solar power, as a coordinated response to two of
our greatest challenges: global warming and energy security. We're
exploring with public officials ways to provide incentives to auto makers
to build PHEVs, and with government and industry suppliers the
opportunities for California to become a design, production (perhaps) an
assembly center for PHEVs.
We're a mostly-volunteer effort (at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/priusplus/ see our open-source-style
technology discussion group documenting our effort), but we've received
contributions from a well-known entrepreneur and a major foundation, with
others to come.
California Cars Initiative
PO Box 61222
Palo Alto, CA 94306