People Who Have Purchased the Enginer PHEV conversion kit!!

Discussion in 'Prius PHEV Plug-In Modifications' started by plugmein2, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    I would love to hear from anyone who has an Enginer system. For me these days I do quite a few short trips in a given day. It is about 5 miles each way to the office and then I do another 5 to 10 miles in a given day. It is typically on weekends that we will venture further away and often times it is a few hundred miles.

    I'm thrilled with the mileage on longer trips - over 50 when driving with traffic, the car loaded with stuff and family. It is around town that is tough - in the winter low 30's and the summer closer to 40.

    I have been thinking of an Enginer PHEV kit - originally I was thinking of the 4kwh unit but given my driving I'm now thinking that the 2kwh may be more appropriate. My thinking is that the 2kwh system would likely be adequate for most of my weekly driving and that the 4kwh system will not really help out much as the longer trips are way more than it would help for. I also see that it looks relatively easy to add more capacity to the system if things change in the future.

    Does this seem like sound logic?
     
  2. Fibb222

    Fibb222 New Member

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    No! Go for 4, I wish I had 8. Word of caution, I wrecked my cells, because in my version the charger is completely stupid. Nobody i.e. Jack, told me not to plug in and walk away. That's what I did for the first month. The cells were overcharged probably dozens of times before I clued in. Jack is good with sending out replacement parts (cells, converters, etc.) but all kinds of troubles could have been avoided if he told me to use a baby monitor and a timer when charging. I'm hoping the buddy cell system and the new 16 cell balancer can salvage my kit's cells. I still have 2 groups of 8 that discharge way sooner than the other 2 groups of 8. This means I never really get as much juice out of the cells as I should i.e. I leave a lot of juice in half the cells when the converter turns off. I can rebalance the groups by charging the weak group of 8 individually with a portable 12V charger (4 at a time) but it's a pain.

    Overall, I'm glad I got the kit, but it could have been so much better, with just a word or two to me about not overcharging, and/or a smarter charging/balancing system.

    Thank Goodness Jack is spot on with replacement parts or this would have been a disaster for me.

    Go for 4kWh and get the 16 cell balancer and a better charger if it is available.
     
  3. Fibb222

    Fibb222 New Member

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    There is no such stores in Victoria, BC where I live. If the codes get tripped again, I'm just going to disconnect the 12V.

    I think the codes getting tripped, wasn't so much the kit, as my weak and now replaced 12V. At least I hope. I've used the kit a significant amount without tripping codes. Why would it start now? I've also used the kit since the codes were cleared and had no repeat of the problem.

    I considered buying a scan gauge, but decided against it as long as disconnecting the 12V will clear the codes. Cheap and easy.
     
  4. dan2l

    dan2l 2014 Prius v wagon

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    Hi Steve,
    First you should get a EBH and do Grill blocking. To be safe in maximum grill blocking I suggest a ScanGauge so that you can see the engine temperature. It sounds like your main loss of MPG is Heat. A EBH will give you the most help.

    Even with a plug in kit, the engine uses gas to warm up. This takes a mile or so and it may be longer in real cold weather.

    The Enginer kit is much better today than what Fibb got. Also Fibbs current problems are caused because he is not following the Enginer instructions to Buddy cell.

    The new kits have Buddy cell and Overcharge protection in place. You get the kit installed with all this done at the factory.

    I also would recommend the 4kwhr kit. You will become disappointed every time you drain your batteries and need to go back to the basic Prius mpg.
    Mileage.jpg
    Here is data from my last few trips. I get 80+mpg when I maximize EV mode

    Thanks,
    Dan Lander
     
  5. Fibb222

    Fibb222 New Member

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    Oh I fully intend to buddy cell when I get a 16 cell balancer from Jack.
     
  6. MJFrog

    MJFrog Active Member

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    Speaking from experience...I have a 2kwh system. As they said above, go for the 4kwh or higher system.

    Jack has been very upfront and quick with support, but in reality, the 2kwh system does not provide enough power to the HV battery to make it more than a hobby toy. I figure I get about a 6-8 mpg boost using the 2kwh kit. My daily commute is ~40 miles total. Charging is a hassle because the 16 cell balancer is not yet available for earlier users (Jack indicates another two weeks perhaps). In the meantime, I'm out checking the system every 10-15 mins to avoid overcharging.
     
  7. dan2l

    dan2l 2014 Prius v wagon

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    Hi MJFrog,
    Thanks for your input on the 2kwhr system.

    The current deleveries do not have the problems with charging. The new MottCells have internal overcharge protection so that the cells will not overcharge.

    Also I recomend adding CellLogs and obnoxiuosly loud alarms that alert you to any cell that is either High or Low. Because of this I do not need to open the back of the car anymore.

    Thanks,
    Dan Lander
     
  8. Octane

    Octane Proud Member of 100 MPG Club

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    I've had my Prius for about 2 weeks now and am on my 2nd tank of gas. First tank averaged 50 mpg. This tank is averaging 57 mpg. I'm still learning how to drive this baby but don't think I'm going to get much better mileage than this without mods.

    I'm getting a scangauge II because I think this will help me get 5 to 10% more mpg with the additional systems monitoring.

    I'm about ready to pull the trigger on buying an Enginer system. My commute is almost dead flat terrain (south Florida) roughly 2 miles at 25 MPH in neighborhoods, 12 miles at 70 on an interstate, 6 miles at 45 mph with 6 or 7 lights and then another mile or so back down at 25 mph.

    Typically on the interstate, I run about 50 to 60 mph depending whether I can find a truck to draft or not.

    Oh, I can plug in at work too.

    Given that driving profile, what sort of estimated increase in MPG do you think I can expect with the 2kw system and then the 4kw system. The price for the 2 kw system is reasonably palatable and maybe even to pay back itself in 3 years depending on how much above $4 gas is going to get. I can't see any way that the 4 kw system will pay for itself in the life of the car (already has 60K on it).

    I'd really appreciate any personal experience that you all may have.
     
  9. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    If you are trying to buy a PHEV system with the idea that it will "pay for itself" then you are going to be disappointed. I can understand getting a PHEV system because you want to decrease your gasoline consumption, or want to decrease your vehicle emissions, or, heck, just because it is fun. But gas would have to get ridiculously expensive for you to break even under any circumstances.

    That said, there's nothing like the smile you get from driving along and watching the Enginer system slowly refill the stock Prius pack, And there's just something fun about plugging in your car.

    Because your commute is longer, the Enginer system will have time to slowly refill your pack, which is good. Plugging in at work will certainly help, too.

    Will you mileage increase. Sure. How much... I'll leave that for someone else to guess. I find it hard to estimate what improvements people will see, simply because each drivers brings with them so many variables.
     
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  10. dan2l

    dan2l 2014 Prius v wagon

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    I think your mileage is about as good as it will get on a 2007.
    ScanGauge will help you learn and to optimize but do not expect 5-10% more mpg from the Scangauge.
    So if you use the EV mode to keep the ICE off You can run in EV for your first 2 miles. The first time you hit 35mph the ICE will come on and run till it is warm. On the interstate you will probably gain 10 mpg and the Prius HV battery will become full. 6 miles at 45 will get you about 70-80mpg at constant speed with low mileage during accelerations. If you are careful running at 35 and timing the lights you would get 90+mpg on this section.
    A 2kwhr kit will get you about 70-80% of the way to work.
    You can see in my chart in the message above that I got 85mpg for 38 miles. I did not have any interstate, so with a 4kwhr kit I expect you should get 75-80mpg with your profile and careful attention to driving. With a 2kwhr kit it would drop to 65-70mpg.

    Eric is right. You will not get a 3 year payback. I figured about 10years on my kit.

    Thanks,
    Dan Lander
     
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  11. Octane

    Octane Proud Member of 100 MPG Club

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    Dan and Eric,
    Thank you for your input. I get the point that payback is not attainable in 3 years.

    However, it has to be something close to being reasonable to slide the purchase by my wife. :)

    With the ScanGauge, 2 kwhr system (and the EV switch), I think that I can bump a nominal 55 mpg up to 80 mpg for a number of reasons. I mapped out a model of my commute and calculate 80 mpg if I incorporate the hints and kinks that are reported in Priuschat.

    So the payback time with gas at $3 is 7 years, $4 is 5.2 years and $5 is 4.1 years.

    Regarding the 4kwh versus 2kwh decision, I corresponded with Jack and apparently you get the same exact system for the same exact money if you buy the 2kwh and then upgrade it from Enginer to 4kwh. So, if you happen to be in the small minority of cash strapped people, there's no penalty for entering a toe at a time.

    In the next week or so, I'm going to get the 2kwh system and put all the theoretical stuff to the test.
     
  12. linuxpenguin

    linuxpenguin Active Member

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    80 MPG is probably pushing it a bit depending on your driving habits and climate with just 1 converter but I'll let you make that call.

    Don't forget to add in the cost of electricity into the pay-back period--people often neglect to calculate this in. Also, you have to ask yourself if the system will actually last long enough to pay itself back even if the car does (we're talking 100,000+ miles to break even for pretty much any system, which is a lot of miles). Some of the more expensive kits use much higher quality batteries that may last that long but if you read feedback from people on this forum here I have trouble believing the Enginer system will last...

    No, you can forget about seeing a return on any conversion you buy unless gasoline hits $8 a gallon (which I believe will happen, just probably not within the life of conversions purchased today). We buy conversion kits to prove that we can be less dependent on foreign oil and reduce overall CO2 emissions (see my other posts for my rants about emissions and conversion kits however).

    Andrew
     
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  13. dan2l

    dan2l 2014 Prius v wagon

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    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for the comment on Payback.

    For your comments about Enginer capabilities, I think it is important for people to understand that you do not have and have not driven an Enginer system.

    The old kits, and the 2kwhr kit, had lower current levels and for them your comment is correct. The current 4kwhr kit is being shipped with a converter that is giving 20% more power. The next generation will be another 30% stronger. I am regularly getting 80 mpg with the current kit and careful driving habits in a climate that is much harsher than what this person would see.

    Thanks again,
    Dan
     
  14. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    Thanks everyone for the input - this is something that I just started to think about but I'll let you all know when I make the plunge.
     
  15. Philosophe

    Philosophe 2010 Prius owner

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    My theoretical calculations have been that I would lose money by buying an Enginer kit (it will never pay back for itself), even with gas at ~4$/gal here and electricity at around 0,08$/kWh.

    See this thread: http://priuschat.com/forums/prius-phev-plug-in-modifications/73554-enginer-phv-kit-business-case.html

    Feel free to contribute to my calculations and improve them.
     
  16. adric22

    adric22 Ev and Hybrid Enthusiast

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    Well, if you are just talking about Dollars in / Dollars out, then you are probably correct. I've come to the same conclusion myself. However, you have to look at how much it "costs" to keep supplying the middle east with our money. Or how much it costs to deal with all the health problems of pollution, or how much it will eventually cost to deal with the issues of global warming.

    I bought the enginer kit for my 2002 Prius in an attempt to make it as close as possible to an electric car, which is my end-goal. When the Nissan Leaf becomes available, I will be buying one of those. But for now a plug-in kit is the next-best thing.
     
  17. Philosophe

    Philosophe 2010 Prius owner

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    Many United Staters seems to have been mislead by your previous administration in this concept that your petrol comes from Middle East.

    See this table from your Department of Energy.

    If you add up the Middle East countries, you learn that you currently get around 14% of your petrol imports from Middle East.


    Fully agree here.
     
  18. aapper

    aapper New Member

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    sorry,, but 14% is far to much to give to the middle east, if we all work together we could change that to 000000's, that should be any top priority for any sane american, thanks dave
     
  19. pbui

    pbui Member

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    for those who made the purchase by dec 31, 2009; remember to claim your 10% federal tax credit
     
  20. lopezjm2001

    lopezjm2001 Senior Member

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    I got banned from the Enginer forum without being given any reason for it. I was surprised that Jack Chen was banned from this forum. If the petition was still open to have Jack Chen unbanned I would vote against him but it is closed. I can sense a growing list of people like myself who have been banned from the Enginer site just for trying to help other users? Maybe. I dont know why?
     
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