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CalCars Plans Commercial Spin-off for Plug-In Hybrid Conversions

CalCars, the non-profit organization that dramatically increased awareness of the potential of plug-in hybrids (PHEV) simply by just doing it and converting a standard Prius to a plug-in Prius, is planning a commercial spin-off for plug-in conversions.

CalCars’ new company will partner with a major auto maker as a Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) to define, to engineer and to produce PHEV versions of hybrid cars and SUVs.

CalCars anticipates a growing short-term market demand from public and private fleets and individuals for between 10,000-100,000 PHEVs.

CalCars earlier worked with EnergyCS, catalyzing the creation of E-Drive, which has developed and will soon market a plug-in conversion kit for the Prius. (Earlier post.)

As CalCars co-founder Felix Kramer notes in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News:

The problem is that E-Drive’s conversions will cost $10,000 and $15,000, which will leave most people out in the cold, Kramer said. “It’s for movie stars,” he said, predicting they’ll sell only 100 to 1,000 vehicles.

Kramer thinks he can sell 10,000 to 100,000 vehicles, and at $750 a car in possible carbon credits, he thinks there’s a promising market.

CalCars is not limiting itself to working with Toyota; the new venture may end up with an automaker such as Ford, for example—an outcome that would be a good move on Ford’s part.


  • CalCars Recruitment Flyer


Felix Kramer

As I posted to Mercury News author Matt Marshall's blog,
after the publication of the print story, here's one clarification to the original article:

The appeal of the Prius conversions that EDrive Systems ( will offer in 2006 could easily exceed initial estimates.

Especially in the past few weeks, as the awareness and excitement about plug-in hybrids has continued to grow, many people from around the country and the world have been contacting CalCars. Many are not celebrities or entrepreneurs. And they're saying they'd give almost anything to get the cleanest unlimited range vehicle on the planet. They're comparing the EDrive Priuses with well-engineered luxury cars that cost far more but don't have this advanced technology -- and they know what they'd choose.

We will put a link to this story at

--Felix Kramer, Founder, California Cars Initiative

sae gozashti

Finally, some good news. Calcars needs to move fast. Their transparency so far is encouraging. If they succeed(and I am sure they will), it is a new way, an open source way solving a problem.


What CalCars appears to be doing is establishing that there is a market for the plug-in hybrid.  Once the major auto companies start responding to the demand, there will probably be no going back - and CalCars' work will be done.

It would have been better if we had started this fifteen years ago with a California Air Resources Board joined to the reality-oriented community, but that's just one of many fumbled balls.


The big IF is convensing the american public that there is in fact an oil crisis.

William Batchelor

All of this is good for reducing commuter based greenhouse gases, but is anyone focusing on adapting this to Agriculture and Transportation?

David Roberts

C'mon Big Oil, don't feel bad, we still need lubricants!

john kerry

We provides high quality cng,lpg kits.

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