I heard that I can convert my Toyota Prius to a plug-in electric car for less than $1000. Is this true?
Chuck’s answer: Many of you know that our family now. has a third-generation Toyota Prius, we still own a second-generation Preius, and we owned one of the first first-generation Prius cars. We installed an aftermarket kit and our second-generation Prius that allows us to press a button to use the EV electric vehicle mode that Toyota disabled in generation one and generation two models.
A company called Enginer.us sells a do-it-yourself kit that will allow you to upgrade your first-generation Prius or second-generation Prius to a plug-in electric car. The kit does not yet work for the third-generation Prius.
If you own a Toyota Prius, you may have noticed that there is a somewhat hidden luggage compartment that is easily accessible under the floor under the hatchback. This Prius plug-in PHEV conversion kit effectively convert your car into a plug-in Prius, that you can plug into a standard 110 V electrical outlet to charge. The PHEV conversion kit is designed for hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers, and according to the website a do-it-yourselfer can install this Prius plug-in PGD conversion kit in about two hours. We have a local mechanic who installed our electric vehicle hack in an hour for about $100. I’m considering printing the conversion kit manual to ask them how much you charge to install the plug-in PHEV conversion kit.
This kit doesn’t convert your Toyota Prius to completely electric car. Instead, it extends the capability of the existing Toyota synergy drive hybrid system. The enginer.US is a combination of lithium batteries stored in the Toyota Prius hidden luggage compartment under the hatchback (above the spare tire) and electronics that trick the hybrid system into using more of the battery than the internal combustion engine.
The company sells three different battery capacities:
# 2kWh (for 10 miles up to 40 miles per hour): $1995
# 4kWh (for 20 miles up to 40 miles per hour): $2995
# Do it yourself: No Batteries $995
Note:$1000 is added for California buyers due to CARB compliant cost (5 Year Warranty and certification cost).
Depending on the size of battery that you purchase, the charge time can be from 2 to 4 hours with a standard 110 V household plug. And the return on investment for your electric vehicle conversion can be in 2 to 3 years.
The manufacturer’s website claims that you can radically improve their Prius fuel efficiency to 100 miles per gallon. Some of the owners who have installed this electrical conversion kit claim that they have increased their gas mileage by 40% to 100%. By default, all generations of the Toyota Prius only operate on electricity at speeds less than about 30 mph. This electric vehicle conversion kit tricks the Prius computer to allow it to operate on electricity up to about 40 mph. So, if your daily commute involves driving at at more than 40 mph, then the Prius internal combustion engine will be consuming gasoline instead of using the electric power. However, if your commute is mostly less than 40 mph and is less than 10 or 20 miles, you can conceivably drive to and from work without ever consuming a drop of gasoline.
Since we own two Toyota Prius automobiles, we are considering buying one of these conversion sets to install on our older Prius. You can read more about it at the manufacturer’s website and you can buy electric vehicle conversion kit on eBay.