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New York Plans Plug-in Hybrid Conversion Program for 600 State Vehicles

New York Governor George E. Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno announced plans for a new $10-million State program to convert vehicles in the State fleet to plug-in hybrids and for the construction of a state-of-the-art alternative fuel research laboratory at the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park (STEP).

Under the $10 million plug-in hybrids program, the 600 hybrid vehicles in the State fleet will be retrofitted to be plug-in hybrids. Once the State’s hybrid vehicles have been converted to plug-in hybrids, the program will be made available to private vehicle owners through a competitive process.

The New York State Alternative Fuel Vehicle Research Laboratory will conduct testing for advanced and emerging technologies such as fuel cell propulsion systems, alternative fuels, and greenhouse gas reduction technologies. Special focus will be on test systems to quantify all emissions from diesel buses and trucks, which will help to develop advanced control and retrofit technologies for these vehicles.

The laboratory also will promote public-private partnership projects and educational programs, including research grants, technology development, and technician training applicable to emerging technologies such as alternative fuel concepts.

This year, New York State has taken significant steps to reduce our dependence on imported energy, and we will continue to promote cutting-edge research and technology that will build a brighter energy future here in the Empire State. This new vehicle testing laboratory and our investments in plug-in hybrids are critical to this effort, and will help spur the innovation necessary to transition away from a petroleum-based transportation sector.

—Governor Pataki

The Governor also announced that Electrovaya, a Canadian high-tech battery manufacturing firm, plans to expand Canadian operations into 5,000 square feet of manufacturing space at STEP, with additional expansion planned. The company’s lithium-ion batteries can be used in a variety of products and applications, including electric vehicles. (Earlier post.)



Are fast charging PLEVs a way to mitigate wind power's lack of an on-off switch?

After all, if PLEVs can charge on the order of a few hours, then they could be plugged in at 10pm and have until 7am to get charged. Since they won't need the full time to charge up, the charger could be programmed to charge when the wind is blowing (making sure to charge at other times if necessary to get full by 7am), or other times when demand is lowest.

The result: correlating the demand curves with supply, resulting in cheaper, less polluting energy (and less oil used too!)


What the?

16,000 dollars per vehicle!!!

Oy Vey!!!!!

Doesn't make any sense to me.



$16,000 is close to the estimate that these guys will be charging for the conversion of the Prius or Escape:

Not so unreasonable. I'd LOVE to see them get a big contract like that--enough of this, let's form a committee or Lab because the money will just disappear. At least you'd have something to show for it.


I'd like to see them manage to do it for $7000 per vehicle and leave the remaining $5.8million "up for grabs" as they mention.


I expect the more people who do it the cheaper it gets-see economy of scale. Besides if there are people out there who will plop down 35,000 down for a mega truck or SUV there must be the equivalent in responsible people.

Harvey D.

This is very positive for PHEVs and high performance Batteries development.

With 100++ more local-state-federal organizations on board, the inital critical mass + lower price would be here sooner.


Anyone know what kind of battery will be installed in those PHEV? NiMH or li-ion? and who will be the contract for the retrofit work?


Sounds like they are taking RFPs right now and only have the money alloted at this point.

Adrian Akau

I wish we had government backing of an EV or PHEV program on the island of Oahu. The island is only 640 square miles and the distance completely around it is about 130 miles so the usual distances traveled by most people are much less than in other states. A transition of government vehicles away from strictly gas or diesel and towards electricity would make good sense where the average price of gasoline is now the highest in the nation.

We do need the cooperation of our Oahu utility company. It needs to look toward renewables such as wind power to cut down on electrical generation costs. Presently, all electricity on Oahu comes from the burning of imported oil.

On the other hand, the island of Maui already has a very good wind farm in operation. A second wind farm may be built by Shell oil. If the second wind farm is built, then 20% of the electricity used on Maui will be from wind. This would be excellent for charging EV's and PHEV's should they become available.

The Big Island is 240 miles around by highway so that the people traveling there usually need more range as compared to the smaller islands. However, our wind sources really are super and hopefully, it will be only a matter of time before they will be harnessed. Our county government should also look to the use of EV's and PHEV's as soon as possible because the cheapest E-10 gas on this island is presently about $3.42/gallon.

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Agree that one would think they could get a better deal for that kind of volume. Perhaps, however, the 10 million includes program, administrative, and other costs.

hampden wireless

$16000 per vehicle when the goverment is involved is a bargain. Often government projects inflate costs by factors much higher, like when the government paid for cruise ship accomodations for Katrina victims. They paid something like 10x the cost on a per person basis of what it would have cost just to book a cruise for the same period.


Looks totally unrealistic to me. In order to retrofit regular vehicle to be PHEV, you have to install powerful starter/alternator, switch braking, steering, AC to electric operation, make drive-by-wire throttle, totally change computer setting, provide for engine cooling shut-off, assure heating of catalytic converter, etc. It is way cheaper and simpler to buy dedicated PHEV. To bad it is not yet exists, and HEV leader – Toyota - places appearance of PHEV in between 5-10 years, on condition that break-through in battery technology will occur. 10 million dollars…


Adrian no offense but who really gives a FF what goes in HI. Its warm ALL the time. Youall Should be biofuel/windpower Central and maybe youre close. Try and pull it off in AK,AB,SD,CHIL,NYNY, WINTER! For 16K per vehicle out in the middle of nowhere an Ediesel might save a lot of towing. 16K does seem a bit much tho.


Andrey- Read it again. They are not converting *regular* vehicles to PHEV. They are converting the state's vehicles which are already Hybrid into PHEVs.


Thanks, my mistake. Conversion of hybrids to PHEV is way more realistic. I hope it will be good pilot project, and further developments will follow.

Adrian Akau

Fred. Thanks for your comments. You guys have it rough there but still, you don't have to depend on imported oil for just about everything. As you said, we should be on biofuel and wind power but the problem is that we have a single utility company (monopoly) that does not seem interested in developing renewables in Honolulu (the most populous island). The utility company there is talking about building a new electric plant using oil and ethanol instead of only oil but this is not going to solve the problem in the long run when I think oil will go over $100/barrel. We need EV's and PHEV's with battery power charged by renewables to replace all the oil that is being refined to gasoline. It would be practical for our state since most road distances traveled are considerably shorter than those in the continental US.

When it comes to energy development, it seems that we are way behind the other 49 states. I think we could do much better.

[email protected]


Agreed, $16.6k per vehicle is on the steep side. But, I would think initially you will have research and testing for the best system. Hopefully, it will be the best results that NY goes with, not the biggest donation. This seems to be government at its best. Reduce cost (less energy cost for NY) and help develope economies of scale for consumers.


I'd love to see them try using diesel powered PHEV's running on biodiesel. That would be a really green vehicle. Dodge Sprinter vans of that type will be coming out soon.

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