EDrive Systems, a joint venture between EnergyCS and Clean-Tech, has introduced a commercial retrofit system that converts a Prius into a plug-in hybrid—“Gas-Optional” hybrid (GO-HEV) using the new term of favor.
The company estimates that an EDrive-equipped vehicle can average 100 to 150 mpg for roughly the first 60 miles of the day, compared to 45-55 mpg for a conventional Prius. The vehicle also has the capacity to run in "electric-only" mode at neighborhood speeds, resulting in zero operational emissions.
Current conversions are done on a demonstration basis at the EDrive facility. EDrive is seeking funding to establish a production facility, and then will set pricing. The company plans to have a retail option available to consumers by 2006.
The EDrive product—and EDrive itself—stem from the pioneering work done by CalCars on the PRIUS+. (Earlier post.)
In the fall of 2004, CalCars completed its PRIUS+ prototype using lead acid batteries, and began receiving advice from EnergyCS. CalCars ended up adopting EnergyCS’s battery management system.
EnergyCS began digging more deeply into the concept and project, and ended up partnering with Valence Technology. Those two companies unveiled the resulting version of a GO-HEV Prius at EVS-21 in Monaco earlier this year. (Earlier post.) This is also the vehicle shown in the announcement of a commercial system above.
The other part of the EDrive story is CalCars’ introduction of Clean-Tech to EnergyCS.
We at CalCars are thrilled at the prospect that, starting in early 2006, individual and fleet customers will have the opportunity to purchase EDrive retrofits from such a stellar source. This can be a giant step in demonstrating the benefits of plug-in or gas-optional hybrids.
EDrive’s business success will complement our non-profit efforts—and we expect that their satisfied customers will magnify our impact. We hope many of those who’ve been asking CalCars, “when can I get a PRIUS+?” will soon get answers from EDrive. And we hope fleet purchasers will also begin realizing GO-HEVs will soon be in their future.—Felix Kramer, CalCars founder
More detailed background, and an outline of CalCars’ go-forward strategy is available on the CalCars’ news group here.