Buy a Prius, Plug It In

Posted On December 31, 2008 | by AllenCaron

Entrepreneurs and savvy alternative energy enthusiasts aren’t waiting around for the promised plug-in electric cars the global automobile manufacturers say are just around the bend. They’re hacking into hybrids already and converting them to after market plug-ins that only need a 120-volt outlet, according to the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123059301640740831.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal). Most obvious targets are the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrids and the reward is a much longer run in all-electric mode before tapping into the gasoline engines, the Journal reports. None other than Andy Grove, retired chairman of Intel Corp., is on record as a big believer in the grass roots conversion movement, which he likens to “Rick Wagoner meets the Hombrew Computer Club.” But it’s not only garage mechanics who are getting into the plug-in business. Hymotion, a unit of battery maker A123 Systems (long rumored to be going public soon) makes conversion kits and is working with Toyota dealerships to be installers.

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