February 22, 2006

Hymotion unveils plug-in kits for Toyota and Ford hybrids

Toronto, Ontario – Toronto-based Hymotion has introduced plug-in hybrid (PHEV) upgrade kits for the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrids at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. The PHEV kits are based on a supplementary lithium-ion battery system that can be recharged by plugging it into a regular household electrical outlet.

The company says that other systems are under development for the Lexus RX400h, Toyota Highlander and Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Hymotion’s PHEV kit supplements the vehicle’s 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. The additional Li-ion battery pack does not change the basic operation of the vehicle; all-electric operation on the Prius is still limited to low speeds.

The company is initially targeting fleet buyers, with a price on the L5 Prius kit of $9,500 each for orders greater than 100 units, and $6,500 each for orders over 1,000 units. Pricing for the Ford Escape kit (which will also work on the U.S.-market Mercury Mariner) has not been established, although the company says that since it is 2.5 times more powerful than the Prius system, “a very high price tag will be expected.” The company says it is also making the system available only to fleet customers because it needs more durability test miles before its release to consumers.

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