|The PHEV Escape model|
Hymotion, a Canadian company, introduced plug-in hybrid (PHEV) upgrade kits for the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape and Mariner Hybrids at the Canadian International AutoShow this week. The Hymotion PHEV kits are based on a supplementary lithium-ion battery system that can be recharged by plugging it into a regular household electrical outlet.
Other systems are under development for the Lexus RX400h, Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid, according to the company.
|The Hymotion L5 PHEV kit in a Prius|
Unlike the approach taken by EDrive with its plug-in Prius system (earlier post)—replacing the original OEM battery pack with an Li-ion pack—Hymotion is supplementing the original NiMH battery system with its own Li-ion system that serves as the plug-in energy store.
The PHEV system recharges from the engine and regenerative braking during operation and from the power grid when the vehicle is parked and plugged in. Once the PHEV battery is depleted, the vehicle resumes normal operation using the factory battery. While the PHEV battery is in use, the OEM battery fuel gage indicates its status.
The addition of the li-ion battery pack does not change the basic operating strategy of the vehicles—all electric-operation is still limited to low speeds (e.g., below 34 mph for the Prius).
|Plugging in the Prius|
Hymotion is initially offering the PHEV upgrade in two models: the 5kWh L5 for the Prius and the 12kWh L12 for the Ford hybrid SUVs. Hymotion is sourcing the Li-ion battery packs from an as-yet unnamed Asian manufacturer.
The company is targeting fleet buyers initially. In unit orders greater than 100, the L5 Prius kits will cost $9,500; orders of greater than 1,000 units would see the price drop to $6,500. Hymotion has not set pricing for the L12 for the Escape/Mariner, although the company notes that “since it’s 2.5 times the power of the Prius system, a very high price tag will be expected.”
Both systems are now available for fleet owners only because we still need more durability test miles before releasing it to the consumers.—Anthony Wei, Hymotion business development
|Plug-in Hybrid Kits|
|System||Hymotion L5||Hymotion L12||EDrive|
|Vehicle||Toyota Prius||Ford Escape Hybrid
Mercury Mariner Hybrid
|Energy||5 kWh||12 kWh||9 kWh|
|Charge time||5.5 hrs / 4.0 hrs||12 hrs /6 hrs||9 hrs|
|Weight||72.5 kg||147.5 kg||113.4 kg|
|Estimated battery range||50 km (31 miles)||80 km (50 miles)||56 km (35 miles)|
|Estimated fuel economy (comb.)||100 mpg||60 mpg||100–150 mpg|
|Price||$9,500 for orders >100
$6,500 for order >1,000
Hymotion had earlier partnered in the development of a hydrogen fuel-cell powered ice resurfacing machine (the eP-Ice Bear). Hymotion has its headquarters and research and development lab in Toronto, Canada. The company also has offices in Boston, USA, and five subcontractor facilities across North America.