Hacking your hybrid

18 August 2005

Prius+ dash modAn Associated Press article appeared in a number of publications this week, reporting on the owners who aren’t satisfied with the economy of their standard model hybrids and who are turning to a spot of DIY.
A group of California-based tinkerers have plonked extra batteries in a Prius’s boot to create what they call the Prius+. Their conversion extends the capabilities of the already thrifty Toyota by adding the ability to charge from the mains while at rest. This can apparently achieve around 80mpg, with a relatively minor increase in the owner’s domestic electricity usage.
Meanwhile, University of California professor Andrew Frank runs Team Fate, a research group that has reportedly achieved up to 250mpg using modified standard vehicles. Frank lives up to his name when it comes to his thoughts on the automakers’ research priorities:

They'd rather work on something that won't be in their lifetime, and that's this hydrogen economy stuff... They pick this kind of target to get the public off their back, essentially."

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