This is interesting.
Like how the iPod created an industry of add-ons, the Prius is doing the same.
Unlike most after market products for cars, which are about sporting up the performance or look, the Hybrid aftermarket is in superior batteries and charging. The improvements are impressive.
“We can improve the energy density, accelerate more quickly, and all without taking up too much space.” Translation: A 45 mpg hybrid can now get up to 125 mpg. Today, about three dozen vehicles equipped with A123Systems cells are prowling the cul-de-sacs of chichi suburbs.
As ever the early adopters are carrying the burden in order to be first.
Naturally, cost is an issue. It takes 64 years of gas savings to pay off the extra investment a Hybrids Plus conversion entails.
Thanks to their taking one for the team, when mass production reduces the price the possible benefits could be amazing.
In August, A123Systems signed a deal with GM to help develop a fuel cell for the Chevy Volt. GM believes a plug-in hybrid like the Volt, which could be in showrooms by 2009, could render the average daily commute—about 40 miles—gas-free. Such efforts could ultimately lead American firms to create what would have been unthinkable a few years ago—a car not powered with fossil fuels. As we speak, at Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley—where a massive solar-generating installation went live in June—four Priuses converted to plug-ins are being recharged by the sun.
I’d still want a Tesla Roadster, but meanwhile this is still very cool technology and another positive step in weaning us off of the black stuff.