150 MPG Toyota Prius

Since I’ve been writing a rash of car-related posts (Aptera’s 300 Mpg Car, Future Of Cars) this entry seems like a good continuation.

In the first quarter of 2008, A123 Systems and Hymotion plan to market a $9500 USD add-on for the Toyota Prius. This cost, which includes installation, is expected to increase your Prius’ fuel economy to 150 MPG in the city. Pretty dang impressive! If it works reliably and safely: I do have some minor qualms about installing a massive lithium ion battery in my car. I’m not saying the “massive lithium battery in the trunk” idea is completely bad… I just don’t want to Beta test or even production test that.

Also, please be aware that this fuel economy increase incurs the additional cost of electricity to recharge this battery. That’s right, when you park your Prius you will need to plug your car into an electrical extension cord to recharge this additional battery.

For more information and a Video of the Hymotion-equipped Prius.


About dataland

Like many others, I'd like to improve the world but I'm currently caught up in day-to-day work. In the meantime, I'm a software developer who is very much focused on the end user.
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9 Responses to 150 MPG Toyota Prius

  1. KarenRei says:

    (Originally posted at another site): Economics calculations

    Average car on the road’s age: 8.5 years
    Extrapolation to expected life of vehicle: 17 years
    A123 Systems batteries ‘ lifespan: 95% capacity at 1000 cycles
    Estimated cycles per year: 200

    Assuming that there’s no sharp dropoff in performance after the 95%, I’d
    expect around 85% capacity by the time the vehicle is scrapped. So, no
    problems there; the batteries will last until the end.

    Let’s say you install this in a new Prius. We have capital costs of $9500.
    Let’s assume 40 miles per day average driving, 17 years of lifespan. That’s
    250,000 miles. Let’s say we’re talking about a switch from 45mpg to 150mpg
    + electricity. That’s 1666 gallons + electricity instead of 5555 gallons,
    so you’re saving 3889 gallons gas. Gasoline in the Prius is probably burned
    at ~25% system efficiency (assuming an efficient ICE), so the car uses the
    energy in a gallon of gasoline (131MJ) * 0.25 * 3889 = 127,365 MJ for

    For the plug-in hybrid version, you have the efficiency of the AC-DC adapter
    (~85%), the batteries (~99.9%), and the electric motor (~85%), so the
    required 127,365MJ of energy for propulsion equates to using 176,459MJ of
    electricity from your wall. That’s 49,016 kilowatt hours. Let’s assume
    electricity prices of $0.06/kWh, since they discount it if you charge at
    night, and gasoline prices of $3/gal. This means saving $11,667 in gasoline
    and spending $2,940 in electricity. Let’s assume that at the end of the
    car’s lifespan, the batteries generate an additional $1000 in value due to
    the recycling of the lithium. Let’s say that the plug-in hybrid version
    reduces maintenance by $300 a year, since electrical systems wear out much
    slower than ICEs due to the small number of moving parts. Times the
    lifespan, that’s $5,100.

    I’m not going to put a price on the convenience of charging at home, the
    benefits to the environment, the quieter operation, or anything of that
    nature. I also won’t subtract from it the penalty of not having a spare
    tire well.

    So, to sum up, we’re spending: $9,500
    Minus the end of use cost of: $1,000
    Minus the maintenance costs of: $5,100
    So that we can replace: $11,667 in gasoline
    With: $2,940 in electricity

    Grand total: You save $5,327 over the lifespan of the vehicle.

    Now, this isn’t a *full* economics calculation. You either have to borrow
    the money if you don’t have it or not invest it in something that would pay
    a return if you already had it. The proper solution is to calculate a
    mortgage length or internal rate of return, and I’m too lazy to do all that
    work. In general, the interest on a loan on $9,500 over 17 years would
    probably be expected to cost you about the same as you end up saving. So,
    the real results of buying the kit are:

    You lose a spare tire
    The car becomes quieter
    Can charge from home
    The environment benefits a great deal

    I’d take that. Of course, this assumes a *New* Prius. If your Prius isn’t
    new, you’ll need to adjust the calulation and make a judgement call. A
    better economic decision if you don’t have a Prius to begin with, a decision
    that will certainly pay off, is to simply get a car that’s designed from the
    beginning to be a plug-in hybrid, like a Volt or Aptera. But if you already
    have a Prius…

  2. David says:

    What kind of an increase can I expect if I lose 30 pounds? Please calculate a new gym membership into the equation. I also drive with one window rolled down about half the time.


  3. George Grey says:

    2 comments – using 6 cents per kwh seems a bit low, in some regions there are no off-peak power rates. I pay 11.5 cents/kwh all the time.

    $ 9500 is a lot given that the Prius is already $ 5,000 over my gasoline Corolla that cost $ 13,000 total. The 150 MPG Prius would cost $25,000-$30,000. Driving that 15 year old Prius is certainly green but if everyone drove Corollas, gas wouldn’t be $3.00 either.

  4. Winnetou says:

    Everyone keeps on doing the economic numbers and giving short shrift to the ecological ones.

    The fact that I live in the most poluted air in the US (Los Angeles), switching to this new technology is a very exiting & attractive proposition. I wonder if getting 100-150 mpg vs the average of about 15-25 would impact another cost calculation; reducing cancer due to better air quality. Not having to pay for radiation, chemo threapy and avoiding premature death (loss of potential income) are also potent economic costs of another kind. Nevermind what the impact of getting off of the oil addiction merrygoround would do for our national security.

    People who argue against these tech advances to our transportation systems remind me of the same arguments made by the anti railroad crowd in the 19th century when folks were worried if the human body could physically survive moving faster than 15 miles per hour.

    A123 is offering a way forward right now and not the ever repeated 3-5 years from now, that will actually have a positive impact on everyones quality of life. Whining about having to plug in at night and that it may not be possible to recoup all of the initial investment is just short sighted. Over time the actual costs will come down as well as this technology achieves greater market penetration.

    Winnetou, my critique is mainly on current safety, cost and environmental impact. Just as you note: Over time, both safety and cost will definitely improve. Environmental impact gets more interesting. Specifically, what’s the environmental impact if your home is powered by a old inefficient coal burning plant? Then, which is better: A stock 50mpg Prius, or a 150mpg Prius where 100mpg of that is coal powered? Personally, I don’t know which is better. Anyone? What’s the total environmental impact?

    I agree with your general sentiment, and especially: “Over time the actual costs will come down as well as this technology achieves greater market penetration.
    — Dataland

    • Paul says:

      Power plants are 40% more efficient than combustion engines in vehicles. That’s why plug-in hybrids are a great idea…

  5. Winnetou says:

    The 150mpg Prius is the better choice over the standard 50mpg!

    1) The majority of the electricity in the greater LA area comes from natural gas powerplants.
    2) I do not have the exact numbers in front of me but I do know that the environvental impact is still much better when you charge the car with so called dirty electricity then by burning oil directly.
    3) Using coal is preferable to oil because we do not have to import the coal.
    4) It is much easier to force (persuade) power companies to clean up their power production act by stricter environmental regulations and or giving incentives to invest in alternative energies like wind and solar on a commercial scale then to try to clean the air with standard catalytic converters that are at the mercy of the indiduals who own them.
    5) Car emmisions are one of the main contributors to the poor air quality of most of the US’s urban/suburban areas. Burning 70% to 80% less gas per vehicle would have a huge impact.
    6)Installing solar cells on your own house (given that one has that opportunity) eliminates most of the “where did the electricity source from” concerns.

    The only real negative is the up front cost which is not insurmountable and will come down in the future. If you take the long view and look at the implications of doing nothing new than it becomes clear – it is a small price to pay indeed. The PLUG IN option is the first and only real step forward that has real world promise to change the dismal equation of personal transportation vs future environmental health and geopolitical stability.

  6. Wilbert Limardi says:

    Is there customer service available if I need assistance setting this up?

  7. h2o4fuel says:

    I love the idea of a plug in hybrid! my prius only gets 45 mpg, and my diesel mercedes runs on veggie. HOWEVER, Please do not be foolish enough to assume we are addicted to oil for any other reason than a political choice. You could invent a car that NEVER uses oil, gas, or electricity. The gov would stop it for revenue reason. I’ll give you an example! Obama says we need to get off foreign oil…. ha ha what a maroon! He shut down off-shore drilling, cut hydrogen research funding by 60%, and while aware of BUSH shutting down 1/3 of domestic drilling, did nothing to reverse it. Furthermore, it was AL GORE who made all of those gas stations upgrade their pumps to pave the way for Bush to raise gas prices to the new “fake” price we have been sold and continue to be sold. Quite frankly, we don’t need gas, and are NOT addicted to oil. Older cars could be converted easily to a domestic methanol, hydrogen, natural gas, or many of the readily available less-poluting fuels we have right here in the U.S. Anyone with an incentive to fuel for less would jump on board, but the people who stand in the way write the laws. Pray for a change!

  8. Harold says:

    I relish, cause I found just what I used to be looking for.
    You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man.
    Have a great day. Bye

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