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Prius has mode to lock out gas engine & go all electric and has more range EXCEPT in US

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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:39 PM
Original message
Prius has mode to lock out gas engine & go all electric and has more range EXCEPT in US


The Button



When the 2004 Toyota Prius was released, and people managed to get one and take it home (these cars flew off the shelves, so to speak. Laying hands on one wasn't all that easy), they noticed a mysterious button on the dashboard that didn't seem to be attached to anything.
ev button The dealerships didn't know anything about it.
Toyota wasn't talking.

So what's a Prius owner gonna do with a question nobody could answer? Go to the Internet, of course.

They quickly discovered that, except in America, pushing the mystery button allows you to drive your car entirely in "electric" mode. American Priuses didn't have this option, (and the picture you see here is of a "non-US" model) because supposedly you could cheat on your emissions test if you hit the switch and kill the gas engine. (Please. If you hit the switch and the engine died, the car proctologist could TELL from the lack of engine noise: end of test. Besides, what PRIUS is going to fail an emissions test, for heaven's sake? American Priuses didn't have the electric-only option because the American auto/oil industry lobbyists wouldn't have it.)

A couple of months later, some enterprising Texan engineer managed to reconnect the EV button on his Prius. Neat! Now, for short trips, he didn't have to use the gas motor at all, or if stuck in traffic or whatever. The gas engine recharged the batteries when it switched over.




About that same time, people started noticing how much space was available in that Prius for extra batteries. Our intrepid engineer found out he could get 50-some mpg by adding another battery. And then some of those past and present electric car drivers from CalCars and Plug-in America started asking themselves: What would happen if you just step over the line and, well, CONVERT the car to electric-optional drive, with PLENTY of battery like you really mean to drive a little without gas...

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
1. Oohh, that's cool!
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bahrbearian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
2. Why can't you plug one in?
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. you know, if you put enough batteries in, reconnect that button, and get some jumper cables...
I don't see why you couldn't.
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. IIRC, you do. The batts hold the charge after you unplug it & drive away.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. No.
There are aftermarket mods to do that, but when you drive it off the lot, it only recharges the batteries by recapturing energy lost in braking.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. batteries are charged by gasoline engine too.
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. It's $10K for the conversion.
But yeah, they're doing them.

List price on the Prius is currently $24-$28K. Add the conversion, and you're talking real money.

There are several sub-$30K all electric commuter (claim 40-100 mile range) cars coming soon - not soon enough, but soon. I travel long distance no more than once a month, so I'd rent a car for the trips and still save a buttload of $$$.

Personally, I've always taken issue with the arguments against electric vehicles - "It's too expensive", "They're too hard to engineer", "They won't satisfy the American consumer". Perhaps it's time for Mattel to get into the business, since I'm not seeing a whole lot of fossil fuel powered vehicles on the shelves of toy stores. Somebody knows how to do it.

Additionally, once consumers catch on to the fact that they're not going to get hit with a $400 charge every six months for "routine maintenance", acceptance of EVs will turn into it's own religion.

We need different regulations for commuter cars for urban areas - including those areas outside of retirement communities.
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bahrbearian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I drove an electric forklift for years 10 hours a day
carring 2000lb pallets around all day, the batteries started to go out on it after 6 years. It was smaller and had more power then the gas ones, something doesn't add up. This was in the 80's
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Puzzler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
6. There's another reason too...
... it's also related the the engine emissions. In the US (and Canada), if the gas engine is shut down for too long, the emissions get worse during the warm up cycle (the catalytic converter in particular). By having the gas engine used more often, the overall emissions are reduced.

(I drive a Prius)
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. so if you use the gas engine a little every day that better than not using it for a week?
sounds kind of lame.
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pinniped Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:26 PM
Response to Original message
11. Check this out:
Plug-in hybrids generate buzz in San Jose

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/0...


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Gabi Hayes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. what is that beautiful bird? a hawk....looks pretty burly for one, but the
beak is too small for eagle, yes?

got any more pictures like that?

and, anybody know if this can be done with other toyota hybrids, like a camry?

thx
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pinniped Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-25-08 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. That's Guinevere, a red-tailed hawk at the SF Zoo.
Edited on Fri Jul-25-08 10:10 AM by pinniped
Here's a cool one. She likes to sit on the ground but no one knows why.

img.photobucket.com/albums/v471/bonds755/IMG_0533.jpg


Check out their range:

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