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Hymotion Unveils Plug-in Hybrid Kits for Toyota and Ford Hybrids

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
SystemHymotion L5Hymotion L12EDrive
Vehicle Toyota Prius Ford Escape Hybrid
Mercury Mariner Hybrid
Toyota Prius
Battery type Lithium-ion Lithium-ion Lithium-ion
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
n/a $10,000–$12,000

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.



Are these li-ion batteries as safe as the EDrive system that uses Valence?


What is it that makes these so expensive? What's the marginal cost of the unit (so as to not include marketing, fixed costs, research, etc)?

What are the expensive parts of the unit? Are there hopes for those parts to decrease in price?


The expensive part is the Li-ion battery.
They are very expensive.

And notice with the EDrive you get 80% more battery power for roughly the same price.


Hmmm...something not adding up here.

This kit has a 5 kWh battery and has a battery range of 37 miles. According to their FAQ, The CalCars/EDrive System Prius+ has a 9 kWh battery...and a battery range of 35 miles.

Unless the two companies have different definitions of battery range.

Adrian Akau

This plug-in battery pack will not get off the ground unless the price is lowered. Plain and simple, they are asking too much.

[email protected]


One thing I notice. The hymotion system does not remove the factory battery pack. The Edrive system does.

Another thing that will change is the weight. Edrive is a changes the next weight of the car by around 80kg so that evens out the weight change to be inline with the hymotion system.


Correction from the company on their original specs: 50km (31 miles) battery range for the Prius, not 60km.


This is good news. Competition drives down price and spurs innovation. I think the Valence batteries are probably far supperior from a stand point of safety, power, weight, and reliability. Valence's one weakness is the cost of the batteries. If Hymotion can position themselves as a lower cost provider that could be a competitive advantage. Also I like the optimism... orders of 1000 or more...funny stuff.


Got some questions here
1)how long will the battery last? 100k miles?
and will the battery be dead very fast coz of deeply discharge all the time?

2)To fleets only(orders >100...)? that means most of us wouldn't be buying such products for now..

3)Price a bit too expensive? But I agree with Paul.. yes price will go down soon due to competition.

Maybe the auto industry needs another 3-5 years for the new li-ion to come.. More R&D leads to better li-ion and cheaper price~


How many fleets of 100+ hybrid vehicles exist in the world? I would be surprised if you could count the number on 2 hands...

Richard Burton

What price? there were no prices in any of the info that I could open up...Richard

Richard Burton

oops, disregard that. only $9500,except in bulk orders...


Interesting post. I just wonder why the Big 3 and the Imports can't (or won't) do this. I'd also like to see them push the maximum speed on the electric drive up to the 45-50 mph range. A lot of people do not use the interstate or 55mph roads in their daily commute. If that were possible, I'd only use gasoline every once in a awhile.


I'd so do it if

a) I had a prius (too bad they don't support the old gen prius too)
b) if they let us finance that battery, but at 6000 hmm...



"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)."

Note that the Prius will do all-electric operation at higher speeds, given a full charge and/or a little downgrade.

(Going over the Cajon Pass it's kind of impressive how far the "green battery" will push you on the other side, out onto the "flats.")



At several grand per, I personally consider these to be proof-of-concept. Maybe someday when my battery dies I'll weigh the costs of a Toyota replacement versus a 3rd party solution.

In the meantime, I'll buy more bicycles ;-) I've already got a mountain bike and a touring bike. I use them now to "displace" some Prius trips, and move my "personal MPG" past that of the plug-in.

hampden wireless

Its clearly not as good as the Edrive but I still applaud them. They are pricing it fairly, I think the Edrive is still a little underpriced. Since neither are available this moment we will have to see what happens to the price once they are available to consumers.

Companies making products like this usually need to multiply the parts cost by 4x to make a profit. I can imagine the parts for this product cost about $2500. Those batteries are not cheap.

When the edrive is on the streets, I would be VERY interested in one.

Felix Kramer

Here's what we posted at CalCars-News:

Hymotion, an Ontario, Canada company with offices in the US, has announced they're about two months away from offering conversions, initially for large fleet orders.

In the past month, we've seen the launch of the national Plug-In Partners Fleet Campaign and rapidly increasing support for PHEVs, further fueled by President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative. Now this "independent commercialization" announcement, and any sales information we see in the coming months, add one more influence on car-makers to consider offering their own plug-in hybrids.

We'd make the following further comments.
* Lithium polymer cells are flat lithium-ion cells with the electrolyte embedded in polymer separators, which have some performance advantages, but have until now been more expensive than li-ion.
* Their system can be thought of as an "add-on" rather than a replacement. The new battery operates until it reaches a mostly-depleted level, then the car reverts to hybrid operation using the stock battery.
* It's a source of considerable satisfaction to us that CalCars can leave it to Hymotion and EDrive Systems (who until now were the only ones publicly working on Prius conversions), to differentiate themselves both publicly and to prospective customers, and to back up their performance expectations.


as odograph said, the prius can go above 34 mph on electric only. with very gradual acceleration, i have taken my mom's first-gen just above 45 mph (not any higher due to the speed limit, prolly could have gone faster).

Shaun Williams

I can't believe there's so much concern about the prices.

This is a real watershed moment for the automotive industry. Don't devalue it over a few thousand dollars.

Good on you USA for actually coming up with two competitors so soon for this very exciting concept.

There are many people on this planet who’ve spent much more on their vehicles. Anything under $15,000 to turn a Prius into a potentially near-zero emission vehicle is a bargain. Particularly at such an early stage in this technology’s development.


For $15,000 you can go down to TerraPass and make a "balancing investment" that puts 300 cars into a near-zero emisson category. (or 30 cars for 10 years)

At some point it really does become a question of what you want to achieve. If you love the plug-in, buy it! If you are looking for a cost-effective way to offset the pollution impacts of your lifestyle ... bicycles and/or terrapass are pretty cheap.


Terrapass sounds good but doesn't help us get off of foriegn oil like if we were all using plug-in hybrids.

Shaun Williams

For $0 I could walk to work and and live in a cave. That wasn't my point.

The RELATIVE price of being able to employ this concept is a bargain and should be encouraged at this early stage.


Seriously guys, there are 220+ million cars on the roads in America. Is the first priority to spend $6.5-12K to convert the best of the current fleet, to be a little better?

I'm sure you've seen the "gallons saved" calculations, and the decreasing return on investment as you move from a 10 to 20 mpg improvment, to a 20 to 30 mpg improvement, ... and you are way out looking at a 50 mpg to 100 mpg improvement?

To recap, given 12K miles annual driving, the 10 to 20 improvement saves 600 gallons on that one vehicle. Moving from 50 to 100 mpg saves 120 gallons.

... maybe we should get folks in guzzlers into simple small cars (or current generation hybrids) as a top priority.

(and suggest terrapasses to anyone who is not in the cash position to make the move.)

Hampden Wireless

Terrapass is a for profit company that has saleries and other financial drag. If you take the $ you would send to terrapass and buy $3 compact flourecent bulbs and give them free to people using regular bulbs you have offset a whole lot of carbon and helped some of your local freinds save $ on thier electric bill. Of course make sure as many of your bulbs are flourecent as you can tolerate.

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