PHEV mod under way, Bristol, UK.

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by aminorjourney, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. aminorjourney

    aminorjourney Mum to two prius!

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    We've started the PHEV mod for Velma! There's a CanView V3+ on the way from Canada as I write. It should arrive in about a week or so.

    The plan is then to install the CanView while the weather is still nice. As with many houses in the UK ours doesn't have a garage big enough for the Prius to fit in, so it'll be down to us to work when the sun shines.

    I may try and get hold of an SLI iPod interface too so I can fit both while the dash is in pieces.

    I'm going to document the process as much as possible with photographs and maybe some timelapse photography (as I've started here). Obviously, Velma has a stock EV button as she's an English spec car, so that part of the process won't need to be carried out.

    Right now we're still choosing the battery tech. I'd quite like to use additional HV packs from scrapped prius but right now they're finding hard to source in the UK. Failing that I think we'll go the lead sled route, installing 20*20AH lead batteries.

    Why are we converting Velma? Well, I'm suffering from EV withdrawl symptoms after selling my EV recently - but we got such a good deal on Velma that we're able to do the conversion as a test for our other prius.

    We'll keep you all posted. If anyone is in the southwest UK and wants to come and help just ping me!

    Cheers!

    Nikki.
     
  2. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    At 9/gallon for fuel I cant blame you. Its a shame the UK government taxes the people so much.
     
  3. aminorjourney

    aminorjourney Mum to two prius!

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    It's really dire, let me tell you.

    I wouldn't dream of owning any vehicle which did less than 50mpg UK (about 42 US).

    Since most of my week involves winding country roads or town driving I'm probably going to stay most of my week at less than 40mph. There's a few days when I need to do 70mph, but hopefully a PHEV will help there by boosting my fuel figures :)

    Nikki.
     
  4. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

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    Cool. I look forward to following your progress.

    I'm planning to do this when battery tech/prices make economic sense. I'm in Quebec and electric is hydro here, about 8 cents per kilowatt-hour.

    Are you expecting to save money or spend more than on gas once the battery replacement costs every 2-4 years is factored in ?
     
  5. aminorjourney

    aminorjourney Mum to two prius!

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    Am I looking to save money? No, not really.

    Am I looking to reduce my dependence on the black stuff? Totally!

    I'm hoping that a bit of renewable electricity from wind power will help my Prius become a little less polluting. (That's how it will be powered, along with petrol, of course)

    At the moment petrol costs have really rocketed. Even when the price of a barrel of oil drops our prices still raise. Taxes on petrol in the UK means we're paying £1.17-£1.23 for one litre!

    Obviously, electricity prices will rise, but I hope at a slower rate than the petrol increases, so it may end up saving us money, even factoring the battery costs.

    Nikki.
     
  6. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

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    Yes, I'm expecting electricity prices to rise here too, even though its from a massive hydro-electric facility. There is surplus that is sold to the US so that and increased usage will keep the price rising IMO.

    I've figured now that I will save over half of my heating bill by converting from oil heat to electric. (I'm going with a geo-thermal heat pump though to multiply my savings by 4.) Many others will do the same I'd bet.

    And if electric cars become popular, gov't will lose "road taxes" they place on petrol. So I think something will have to give there and road taxes will be collected on electricity or by a new tax on EVs.


    Anyway, I'm looking forward to smart meters that will allow us to recharge at night when rates will be lowest. Assuming this SAVES me money.
     
  7. wchardin

    wchardin Senior Member

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    Good luck on your project, I too am interested in the assignment.
     
  8. aminorjourney

    aminorjourney Mum to two prius!

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    My Can View has arrived! It came in the post on Friday and I'm bursting to fit it. Sadly I've got to wait two weekends until an event where I'd promised to fit it live.

    I had a mock-go yesterday at removing the dash on the Prius . I was surprised at how simple it was and how easily everything popped out and back together.

    While I had the dash out I also performed a quick SLI2 installation. With my iPhone working and connected to the JBL system I was able to change track etc with the steering wheel controls. The SLI2 is currently sitting in my glovebox. I'll install it properly when I install the CanView.

    [​IMG]

    More photos from yesterday's dismantling are here:
     
  9. philmcneal

    philmcneal Taxi!

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    keep us posted! there hasn't been a real easy guide for a DIY phev prius project, but im waiting for the better batteries since those lead acids are way too heavy for my tastes
     
  10. Cheap!

    Cheap! New Member

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    I'll try to provide a real easy guide for you. I had to redo my entire conversion but now I got it to fit under the rear deck. The mount I made sits so that there is no need for drilling any holes in the Prius. Also I can relocate the bumper plug so you don't have to even drill the bumper if you don't want.
     
  11. aminorjourney

    aminorjourney Mum to two prius!

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    Hi Cheap,

    That'd be grand. Thanks.

    I've found the plug I want to use for mains input, 240VAC at 16A

    [​IMG]

    It flush fits on caravans over here and is the standard outdoor mains outlet for high-power applications.

    It's going to make a huge hole in the bumper though, so any non-drilling installations sounds just right!

    Nikki.
     
  12. Cheap!

    Cheap! New Member

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    The gasket seal for the hatchback (Boot?) has enough play so you can lay a power cord on it, shut the hatch, and it won’t hurt the cord. I know people who prefer this method because you won’t need to drill your bumper. There are a few other ways but some like to keep a cord on a self-retracting reel so the cord is easy to deal with.

    Please keep in mind you have to first plan the conversion backwards and then start to build it.

    • What batteries are you going to you and what are their physical dimensions? Will they fit under the floor in the back or will the stick up?
    • What charger will you use and what is its physical dimensions? Will it get hot? Will you need to provide venting?
    • Do you plan to keep the spare tire in place, or will you throw it in the boot, or will you leave it at home.

    After that install the Can-View, and run the wires to the boot. Tap the Prius Main battery. Tap the Prius Main Battery Fan. Tap power from a power plug up front and run the wires. Do Not Tap the Accessory Battery. (For safety, you need the control board power supply to shut off when the car is off.) Buy the control board and then you just have the battery box left to build. All your wire will be run, your car will be back together, and you can just drive your car as is until you get your batteries in.

    There will be work to do on the batteries before you put them to use. You will have to balance them first.
     
  13. aminorjourney

    aminorjourney Mum to two prius!

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    Hi Cheap!

    Thanks for the great advice!

    I'd ideally like to go with using original packs in parallel, as done by Norm at HybridInterfaces. However, that's in the early days of development, so I'm probably going for the PiPrius method, using 20*20AH 12V cells and the charger by manzanitamicro.







     
  14. Cheap!

    Cheap! New Member

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    aminorjourney,
    Adding just one extra Prius battery will not give you much range, but it does work. The PiPrius system works too, but if you are going to use
    "20 -12v 20amp sealed batteries (SLA) like me, you do not have to use the Manzanitamicro and you can go with a cheaper charger.

    The Manzanitamicro is a great product that is also a DC to DC converter, so you can use fewer larger batteries, thereby saving you on battery costs. So if you wanted to use say nine larger 12 volt batteries you could end up paying less for the batteries and when it comes time to get a new pack you would buy fewer. This system has more upfront cost but it does work great.

    On the other hand, if you are going to get the sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries you can save money on the charger.

    The goal here is to provide the Prius with extra energy of about 240volts DC. either way will do it. Please remember 240vdc can be deadly so you need to have a professional do the final connections or you need to get trained to do it safely. I am sure you can find a professional fellow Prius driver to help for the cost of some home made biscuits, and a really hot cup of tea.

    The biggest problem with these conversions is the same as it has always been for the past twenty years. Battery Management! You will need to start learning about Battery Management Systems (BMS).

    Now think what would be more difficult to manage, 20SLA batteries, or a minimum of (Don't Quote Me!) about 76 or so, and up to several hundred Li-Ion Batteries. Knowing that each cell must stay balanced (the same voltage) with all the others, and preferably during discharge just as much as during the charge cycle.

    It can be done but it is a real PITA!

    Please understand I knew nothing about electronics or High Voltage Safety before I started. No one does. We all have to start somewhere and this is something anyone who wants to learn, can do safely. Driving your Plug-in will be just “Plug & Play†but building and maintaining the system won’t be. This is why most people will wait until the big auto makers finalize their systems. For some like me, I could not wait. I for one like being able to drive using Clean Wind Energy. I have been doing that for over a year in a major U.S. city. I drive in downtown Houston giving off no tailpipe emissions. Mostly nobody here cares, but I do.
     
  15. aminorjourney

    aminorjourney Mum to two prius!

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    Hi Cheap.

    Luckily I've worked on high-voltage systems in the past but only as EV conversions and pure EV work. My last car was a pure city EV. I upgraded the lead batteries to Lithium to increase range and performance and also had to make my own wiring harnesses to install the BMS!

    Thanks for clearing up the confusion about the batteries. I need to read the wiki again I think! I think I've got the Prius Plus and piPrius muddled.

    *read again*

    Okay. Well, it looks like the PiPrius is my preferred method, with bigger batteries. Why? I think I'd rather provide constant power to the additional pack rather than using a higher potential.

    Hmmm.

    I'm taking a weekend off this weekend, so I'm going to sit down and plan!

    Nikki.
     
  16. KV55

    KV55 Member

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    Hello aminorjourney

    I passed a deep red Prius with "plug in hybrid" in white lettering this morning at Longwell Green, I am guessing it was you, but anyway the lettering worked because I looked up this thread. Good luck with the modification. KV55.
     
  17. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    i hope you are right...but for my area, it aint so!!! Puget Sound Energy has just applied for a 27% rate hike!!!

    can you believe that!~!.... now my Zenn will cost me a fortune to drive... im probably looking at least paying $15 a month to drive that thing... bummer....gone are the days when i only paid $12....
     
  18. aminorjourney

    aminorjourney Mum to two prius!

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    ... And I think it was you who waved. Were you in a silver Prius?

    I was on the way to a day worth of music demonstrations on the oboe and bassoon.

    I hope my conversion works too. I'm currently trying to find a source for batteries. I'll keep you all informed. My previous source for NiMH fell through after I was told the company involved (a PHEV conversion company who charge upwards of £12k for a conversion) couldn't possibly sell me the old original Prius packs because they are contractually obliged to keep them. Sounds like they don't want me to do a cheaper conversion if you ask me.

    Nikki.

    P.S. As I said to Adam in another post, the local EV/Hybrid group are having a BBQ on Sat 2nd August. PM me for more info!
     
  19. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    All these plug in companies will go bye bye in 11 months when the 2010 prius hits the streets.
     
  20. aminorjourney

    aminorjourney Mum to two prius!

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    Right, so here's an update.

    This morning I'm heading out to Devon to drop off some Lithium Ion batteries I had in my last EV and then heading on to Cornwall, where I shall be purchasing a salvaged OEM battery pack for the sum of £240GBP. This will be the first of two additional OEM packs which I'll install in Velma. Hopefully by the time I've sourced the second one I'll have a charger lined up and (I hope) the BMS+ from Hybridinterfaces.

    I have my High-Voltage resistant gauntlets ready and am packing the car up in a few minutes. It'll be about an 8 hour trip so I'll try and write this evening!

    Nikki.
     
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