Plugin Hybrids Closer…

Even with gas prices down — though temporarily as global supply is dwindling (read about peak oil and listen to this sobering-but-informative Potential Energy podcast) — I’ve continued to find ways to strategically shift my and my family’s behaviors when it comes to recycling, using a rechargeable lawn mower, and now moving away from conventional cars to a hybrid.

Though there are strict covenants in my housing development — making a whole house natural gas generator, solar or wind driven energy options legally unavailable for us — I predict that as energy costs continue to rise, there will be modifications made making alternative energy sources mainstream and homeowner’s associations like mine willing to amend covenants.

I know, I know, there are a lot of other people that have been at this “green” thing for a long, long time, but the world auto manufacturer’s are finally responding to electric vehicle production which will bring the costs down to affordable levels and, even though we’re a year or two away from luxury versions of hybrid cars that get great mileage and are more carbon clean, I went ahead and stepped down to a Prius in order to step up and do my part.

Today is day four with my new Toyota Prius and I’m finding myself already in love with this car (though again, it would be nice if it were just a bit more luxurious). Though not broken in yet (conventional experiences shows 10,000 miles on the odometer is when peak efficiencies and mileage kicks in), I’ve been averaging 49.2mpg. Not bad, but I’m hyper-aware of what could be my mileage with a plugin hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) more complete battery pack like the Hymotion from A123 Systems, the company co-developing the PHEV system for the upcoming Chevrolet Volt.

Unfortunately, the cost of the Hymotion L5 is $9,995 plus $400 destination fee, requiring something goofy like 29 years to payback the additional investment (and that’s with $3.00+ gas prices).

How does 236mpg sound? The PriusChat forum has this thread on PHEV Prius modifications and this VERY comprehensive overview of the Hymotion install AND videos of the results that are incredibly interesting…like this hypermiler’s ability to squeeze out 236mpg on his home commute (NOTE: there is a technique in the Prius where one can slightly depress the accelerator and place the engine — driven either by gas or electric — into ‘glide’ mode, essentially turning it off).

With Toyota considering a Prius standalone brand to the Volt and other carmakers getting into the plugin game, no question there will be economies of scale that will make PHEV’s significantly more affordable than adding a $10,000 upgrade to a $29,000 car.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.