Saturday, April 02, 2005

US Team Unveils Plug-In Hybrid-electric Prius at Monte Carlo Exhibition

The next major step in fuel efficiency may be a marriage of electric cars with hybrid cars to produce a car that can go 20 to 50 miles on battery power alone and then switch to hybrid power. The car is then plugged in to recharge the batteries. Since most trips people make in their cars are less than 50 miles, the gas milage would increase dramaticly.

At the 21st Worldwide International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition (EVS 21) being held next week, Valence Technology Inc. which produces large-format Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, and EnergyCS, developers of integration control systems, will showcase a new concept plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

Powered by the Valence U-Charge(TM) Power System, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is a fully functional concept car based on a 2004 Toyota Prius. Because the Valence battery offers much more energy than batteries traditionally used in hybrid vehicles, it allows significant amounts of zero-emission driving with the concept PHEV. With a fuel efficiency that can reach up to 180 miles per gallon for an average commute of 50-60 miles per day, the PHEV has superior gas mileage, which means fewer trips to the gas station. Using the U-Charge system, the PHEV offers the best of both worlds: zero-emission electric mode (up to 33 mi/h, 53 km/h) and an efficient gas motor for long trips. ...

"Valence's phosphate-based Lithium-ion batteries have substantially higher energy density than competing batteries for hybrid electric vehicles. And, unlike other types of Lithium-ion batteries, our Saphion technology offers the longevity and safety needed for both hybrid and pure electric vehicles," said Stephan Godevais, president and CEO of Valence Technology. "The Valence-EnergyCS plug-in hybrid vehicle is a breakthrough in the industry. It allows renewable energy to displace gasoline, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, which is increasingly important given today's environment and economic concerns."

Valence hopes to offer a conversion kit to Prius owners, although it would void the Toyota warrenty.

While we wait for the corporate world to produce the ever receding hydrogen powered car, it seems that small companies are working on the next best thing.


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