California Cars Initiative for Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles — Here is the main source of the information regarding modding a Prius to get up to (according to some reports) 180 miles to the gallon of gas. It allows the car to be optionally plugged in which is for some reason discouraged by Toyota. There is something fishy about all this since I would think it would boost sales. And why is the “electric only” mode blocked on our cars but availaable in Europe and Japan? What corruption is at work here?

A first step is already on our roads. Hybrid cars add an electric motor to a gas-powered engine to improve efficiency at slow speeds and rev up when needed. The popularity of the first hybrids caught auto makers by surprise. Yet as they scramble to catch up, they’re missing the big opportunity to leapfrog to next-generation hybrids.

Recently, engineers have found ways to enable the”electric-only” mode that Toyota built into the Prius (it’s standard in Japan and Europe, but disabled in the US).

via E. Campbell



  1. "-" says:

    I read about this in the New York Times and thought right away about the overnight charging: What a great chance to upload digital information!

    Like Podcasts!

  2. g quaglia says:

    The oil industry is big business in this country. Its the same reason why hydrogen will never be anything more then a curiosity if big oil has anything to say about it. I’m a big fan of George Bush, but I’m sure his big oil past has something to do with it.

  3. Miguel Lopes says:

    What sort of corruption? You don’t know? OK, I’ll explain.

    There’s a deal between the US and the rich Arab sheiks. Not with Israel, no. With the sheiks! What’s that deal? That the US will support the Israeli presence in the Middle East!!! WHAT? Am I insane? No, hear me out: by supporting Israel, the US creates the perfect excuse for the Arab sheiks to give to their starving people – ‘look’ – they say – ‘it’s all Israel’s fault that you’re starving, not ours’!. As payment the US gets priority treatment.

    Therefore the US can’t get off this deal. It can’t be done fast. Not fast enough to get a hydrogen or electrical infrastructure in place to feed all those cars. What wiould it look like to the sheiks if the US started to look to alternative energies? It would likely destabilize the whole Middle East. Because, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the Middle East is a stable zone!!!!!

  4. Ed Campbell says:

    Even the focus on hydrogen to power fuel cell vehicles is part of Bush’s allegiance to the Oil Patch Boys. In truth, fuel cells can be powered by methanol. That accomplishes a number of tasks, simplifying the whole process of energy-saving conversions:

    [1] Methanol is cheaper to produce than refined gasoline. Plus, it comes from renewable resources.

    [2] That lower production cost also includes a reduction of about 50% in emissions from the whole process.

    [3] Bush’s emphasis on hydrogen would require an entirely new distributive network, nationwide. The average cost of conversion of existing gas stations is estimated at $1.2 million each.

    [4] Methanol, being a liquid with transport requirements similar to gasoline, would require the spending of about $60K per station to be added to the offerings.

  5. Ima Fish says:

    You asked why, well the New York Times article gave an answer:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/02/business/02plug.html?

    “…the feature was disabled in Priuses sold in the United States because of complications it would have created in emissions-testing rules.”

    In other words, it sounds like a government/bureaucratic blunder. I imagine two EPA workers talking as follows: “Darn Vern, how do we test the emissions of a car that hardly uses any gas?! “I don’t know, let’s just make them turn that useful feature off.”

  6. Smith says:

    From my experience, hybrids are a fraud. A co-worker and I used the company’s hybrid to travel to a seminar 350 miles away. Our average mileage: 35 mpg. Considering this mileage was obtained by traveling a lightly-traveled freeway at 75 mph, I don’t see how it is possible to get the 50 mpg avertised by the manufacturer. City driving — where hybrids excel — has to be less efficient than freeway.

    This car costs $5,000 more than the regular version. (Want to take a guess on maintenance costs?) If you want a high-mileage car, there are plenty to be had that will match the performance, fuel economy, and spartan interior of this vehicle — for a lot less money.

  7. So ow many KW does it take to get 180 mpg? Even though this is “good” (night time) electricity, it still costs, and it’s still alimited resource.

    If a million cars did this, would our electrical grid collapse?

  8. quaglia, you’re wrong abourt big oil. No one knows more than they that we’re running out of oil. Big oil wants to sell you the future replacement for oil rather than dry up and blow away.
    – PB

  9. Paddy Mullen says:

    I have read about the electric only mode of the prius. It is extemely limitted in its range. 180 miles extra sound absurd. I will look to find the site (it may have been a car magazine). I read this months ago.

    Anyone a fan of diesels? Particularly VW TDIs. They are amazing 45mpg+ great durability.

  10. Ashlee Vance says:

    Podcasts? What are those? Is that something big oil does?

  11. Pat says:

    Hhmm save on the gasoline but add more coal fired electricity. Seems like we are just exchanging one type of pollution for another.

  12. gquaglia says:

    “From my experience, hybrids are a fraud. A co-worker and I used the company’s hybrid to travel to a seminar 350 miles away. Our average mileage: 35 mpg. Considering this mileage was obtained by traveling a lightly-traveled freeway at 75 mph, I don’t see how it is possible to get the 50 mpg avertised by the manufacturer. City driving — where hybrids excel — has to be less efficient than freeway.”

    Not really, hybrids work best in stop and go traffic because when you are stopped in traffic, the engine shuts off. When you start up again, it runs on batteries until you reach a certain speed when the motor starts up again. You also recharge the battery through regenerative braking, which you don’t have a lot of in freeway driving. This is how the Toyota and Ford models work, on the Hondas, the motor runs the whole time.

  13. Hal Jordan says:

    Pessimists! Charging from an outlet uses existing technology to explore a future fuel model that will eventually free America and the world from the grip of greedy oil cartels. Don’t go Soylent Green on me and tell me about how coal is a pollutant so we have to schew rechargeables. The ideal setup is to put a wind and solar gadgets on top of your homes, charging the battery that you’re gonna charge your cars with.

  14. Zeuser says:

    Emissions from coal fired plants to get the electricity to the plug-in Prius, in off-hours I might add, is actually less than what would be emitted by the Prius driving that extra mileage on gasoline only. So yes, you’re exchanging one form of pollution for another, but the alternative is actually better.

    In all these pollution calculations one thing that is almost never considered is the “hidden” pollution behind gasoline. Importing oil from the middle east is done by a large ship. This ship emits emissions. Refining the fuel emits more emissions. Hauling the fuel to the corner gas store via a tanker truck emits more emissions.

    When you factor in all the polution emitted by every step of each process, they’re about the same with a slight nudge towards coal fired electricity (less polution overall).

    Did you know a 200 square km solar array in the Sahara desert could supply the entire planet with electricity? Did you know there’s enough harvestable wind going across the continental U.S. to supply the entire country sevreal times over?

    Obviously the technology exists to switch over to an entirely electrical system today if we *REALLY* wanted to. The problem is politics and big business. I won’t go into that as we all know what’s really going on.

  15. Blakrhyno says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with Zeuser. Big oil and government interest in their (HUGE) profit at all costs (ex. human lives, the environment) will continue to supersede the needs of real human beings throughout the world. I only hope that those priveleged few of use who are sitting at our computers in warm comfortable, safe places in a stable environment appreciate the luxury and excess that we experience on the western world and are willing to contribute a little of their own time and energy (no pun intended) to get this message out.


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