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Prius PHEV to Run in Tour de Sol Rally

The prototype Prius Plug-in Hybrid developed by EnergyCS and Valence Technology (earlier post) will participate in the Tour de Sol Championship Race and Monte Carlo-style Rally on May 13-16. (Earlier post.)

Introduced at the EVS21 show in Monaco, the prototype is the basis for the development of the retrofit kit to be sold by EDrive. (Earlier post.)

EnergyCS replaced the original battery controller with its own design, added a charger so that the vehicle can be plugged into an electrical outlet (120V or 220V), and replaced the nickel-metal-hydride batteries with Valence’s lithium-ion system. The PHEV modified by EnergyCS offers full electric mode at speeds of up to 33 mph (53 km/h), and potential fuel economy of up to 180 miles per gallon for an average commute of 50-60 miles per day.

The Tour de Sol will award prizes to hybrid or biodiesel vehicles that travel a minimum of 150 miles, at an average of greater than 60 mpg. A $5,000 prize will be given to the most fuel-efficient vehicle that breaks the 100 mpg barrier.



How is fuel economy measured in plug-in hybrids? Is it just the amount of onboard gas used? How is the fuel required to generate the stored (from the plug) electicity measured?


It’s just the onboard liquid(or I suppose gaseous, if appropriate) fuel. The energy cost of generating the grid electricity isn’t factored in.

Felix Kramer

Actually, the energy cost of generating the grid electricity is factored in by referring to the efficiency of the car as gasoline miles plus electricity used: for instance, the EDrive Prius in one "anecdotal" instance, performed: "70 mile trip, 80% 55 mph freeway, 20% city: 120-180 mpg + 115-150 grid Wh/mi, compared to est. 55 mpg as a normal HEV." (See the PRIUS+ Fact Sheet link at priusplus.org ) Then you need to make assumptions about the cost to the user of that electricity: is there an off-peak rate, etc. Roger Duncan at Austin Energy, for instance, points to his utility's night-time wind power at 2c/KwH and says PHEVs could give you the equivalent of under 25 cents/gallon gasoline -- so there's a mixing of lots of issues here. As we move along, and as performance documentation by indepedent agencies of PRIUS+ and of DaimlerChrysler Sprinter PHEVs comes along, much of this will become clearer.

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