Who has got a Plug-in kit? Satisifed?

Discussion in 'Prius PHEV Plug-In Modifications' started by Chuck., Mar 27, 2016.

  1. Chuck.

    Chuck. Former Honda Enzyte Driver

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    It's in my profile, but I have a 2007 base Prius. I will be fixing it up, although it's in pretty good condition.

    I have thought about a plug-in conversion, and wanted to get the experiences of anyone that has done so. Also interested in anyone that bought a PHV.

    Need to do more research, but it seems a plug-in conversion might make sense if I choose the right kit and have the right kind of commute. Otherwise, it could be a waste.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i don't think there are any reasonably priced kits left on the market. is there anything besides pis?

    a used pip could be cheaper, more reliable and more efficient.
     
  3. MJFrog

    MJFrog Active Member

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    The time for after-market conversions is passed. The auto makers has stepped up with plug-ins and BEVs that you can get at a reasonable price used...

    I bought a used 2011 LEAF at the end of Feb. 2014 and just love it. I have a 2012 Prius for any out-of-town trips and for the wife to use.
     
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  4. Augustus88

    Augustus88 Junior Member

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    I, too, am interested in this. I'm not wealthy by any means, but managed to acquire a 2008 Touring for $5000, in good condition. I could never afford a Leaf or other full electric car, and still need the backup range of an ICE for trips.
    I could save up a few thousand to do a plug-in conversion mainly for the fun factor, less for saving gas money. I think a 4kw kit would be perfect for the amount of daily driving I do.
     
  5. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

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    I would not recommend it for many reasons. If you want to know them, I'll spill them out to you.
     
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  6. Augustus88

    Augustus88 Junior Member

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    I would love to hear the reasons why not. The cost/benefit I am aware is not there right now, especially with gas prices below $2.00 where I live. The self-install part does not bother me, I am sure I could get it done in a weekend just fine.
     
  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    to start, there is nothing available for a few thousand.
     
  8. Augustus88

    Augustus88 Junior Member

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    Isn't the Enginer 2kw kit $2000, and the 4kw $3500? Or are they gone? Their website is still around...
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    gone. maybe someone in china is making them. contact them and see if anything comes back.
     
  10. Augustus88

    Augustus88 Junior Member

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    Well, that leaves Plug In Supply, cheapest option at $6500. For that I could buy a second Prius!
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    aftermarket has really fallen out of favor since the pip came out.
     
  12. Augustus88

    Augustus88 Junior Member

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    Seems strange. I bet there are a lot of people out there like me who can't afford a $35k PIP, and want to add a few KW to their existing older Prius.
     
  13. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

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    For starters, see this thread post #46, 63, 74, 122, 247, 314, 317, 406. Honestly, the whole thread is good reading.
    Plug-In Supply DIY | Page 3 | PriusChat

    Additionally, the Prius in general (Plug In excepted) is not a good candidate for "PHEV" conversion. Here's why:

    1) It is designed as a gasoline (primary) car with electric assist. It is for this reason that the electric motors do not have enough power to safely propel the car. With electric mode only, the car is seriously underpowered and not safe to drive on the streets (IMO)
    2) The Prius has advanced, high-tech monitoring systems (called ECU's) that all work together to make this engineering marvel work. Adding more battery capacity or switching to lithium requires modifying what one ECU sees which causes multiple problems with other ECU's.

    The old adage that "every time you fix a problem you have to solve another" has major application here. A typical scenario may go like this:

    Problem/Fix: The battery runs out or low in "EV" mode, I need a bigger battery (thousands of dollars)
    New problem: Adding a bigger battery requires spoofing or/reprogramming the Battery ECU
    Fix: Then I will reprogram/spoof the ECU so I can use the bigger battery (hundreds of dollars)
    New problem: Now that I have this bigger battery and the ECU spoofed, the ICE still wants to come on when I accelerate normally
    Fix: I can use OutOfGas mode to stop the ICE from coming on (cheap)
    New problem: The stock electric motors/inverter setup are not strong enough to power the car in most situations and... if I want to use the ICE, I have to pull over, turn the car off and then back on to allow the ICE to be used (then you have the above problem of the ICE coming on too much)
    Fix: I need to install a larger electric motor (thousands of dollars)
    New problem: The inverter cannot power the new motor
    Fix: I need a new motor controller/inverter (thousands of dollars)
    New problem: I've spent so much money on converting my Prius that there is no return on investment and I can't sell it b/c no one wants a car that's had this many mods
    Fix: I need to take every mod off and return the car to its original state (thousands of dollars)

    (It reminds me of a story I heard in grade school where a king had mice in his castle and wanted to get rid of them. So... he brought in cats then, he had too many cats so... he brought in dogs. This continued until he brought in elephants. Having too many elephants, the only thing he could think of to get rid of the elephants was mice. He brought back the mice, the elephants left and he lived happily ever after)

    There are other numerous reasons why the Prius shouldn't be converted unless you're going to gut the HSD and add an electric drive system that can handle the requirements. The stock Prius electrical system cannot handle the requirements on its own. It needs the gas engine and the gas engine needs the electrical system. They have a symbiotic relationship.
     
  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    there were a lot of people, but they gave up, because the kits were not working properly. then the kit maker folded. enginer was the only low end play. some people have done it themselves, mostly outside the u.s. i think, you can find their threads here.
    and now, people are buying good used pips for 15k, really negating the aftermarket kits.
     
  15. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Starting cost at $6,500 for a decent aftermarket kit is about right.
    Add on PHEV systems will never save you any money. Never. Ever.
    If you have one installed you will continue to spend money on it and tinkering with it. It is not a "set it and forget it" kind of thing.
    Small companies like Enginer went out of business. (although later resurrected. Sort of.)
    Hymotion systems, which cost over $10,000 back in the day, are orphans as well since the company declared bankruptcy. The few systems that are left are mostly not working any more. Or the replacement costs for parts (starting at $2,000) are beyond what most people want to continue to invest.
    Now that real plug ins, and used all-electric cars are available, most people are going that direction rather than buying aftermarket PHEV systems.

    Woe to anyone who buys a system and does not know about the past history of the company. Or don't truly understand what it means to have a warranty from a non-US company.

    Many of us old timers know who is who when it comes to aftermarket PHEV systems. We lived it.

    I'm happy to talk about options as well as history of the rise and fall of PHEV market. I've been through it all, down in the trenches.
    Feel free to call me anytime.
     
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  16. Augustus88

    Augustus88 Junior Member

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    Sounds like a total nightmare. I'll just wait another 8 years until I can afford a Plug in Prius or something.
     
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  17. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    I thought user 3prongpaul of Boulder Hybrid Conversions does this for a living, and it is based off of Colorado's generous tax credits for conversions. But no other state is as nice.
     
  18. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Paul is one of the best hybrid mechanic's out there. He also does specialty work on hybrids and EV's.
    But he would probably be one of the first people to warn you away from systems from Enginer, Hymotion, etc.
    He does great work, but is at the mercy of the reliability (or lack there of) of the assembled components.
     
  19. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    agreed...but if you want to convert to plug-in especially in CO, you have the option thru Paul, or not? Is the business still active?

    I took the direction of the thread to suggest there was not a valid option to convert hybrid to plug-in. But In CO there was an option.
     
  20. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    His business is still there. Take a look at Upgrades | Boulder Hybrids

    For a gen 2 Prius:
    $9,750 for 15 miles EV range around town
    $12,250 for 20-40 miles EV range around town

    After the CO rebate you still will be paying $4,000 to $7,000.
    So when people only want to spend a couple thousand dollars I need to bring them back to reality.
     
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