I posted this on the Yahoo Prius-UK group, and a member of this group suggested it might interest members of this group:
I should explain, I bought an old model Prius in April 2002, and last year ended an IT career and became a Private Hire (ok, minicab) driver for a (then) new firm in London using the hybrid Toyota Prius (www.greentomatocars.com). A year, nearly 50,000 miles and 1Ã‚Â½ thousand journeys later, I started having circulation problems in my legs due to spending so many hours in a car each day, and now work in their head office.
Well, I FINALLY got to drive our plug-in Prius today, and it was a revelation. Amberjac (www.amberjac-projects.co.uk
) took it back and put their latest battery and software into it and returned it yesterday. It was plugged in all last night and I brought it home today. I'll have it maybe for a week or two, and will monitor how much electricity it uses via a plug-in power monitor socket I bought from Maplin (currently Ã‚Â£26, but they occasionally sell it for about Ã‚Â£14).
I filled the tank just after leaving the office, and then drove another 39 miles (missing the M1 car park from J6-J10). It just reverted to normal hybrid operation as I pulled into our drive. The standard energy monitor still showed 99.9 mpg, so I predict it will be a while before I fill it up again and calculate consumption (yes, I KNOW 1 fill will have a margin for error, but it's the best I can do! - I will go to the same pump and station if possible, and I've probably filled up a Prius more times than most here, having driven some 50,000 miles in various current models, and filled each new car before handing it over to the driver).
As I predicted, it felt like a normal Prius does when the HV battery has completely filled to the max after going down a VERY long hill, when the system tries to use some electricity as quickly as possible to make regeneration possible again. When using engine power, it gets helped by the electric motor much more than a standard Prius, and even at 70 mph on a light throttle pressure it will go into EV mode for brief periods. Crawling through St Albans and Harpenden was almost entirely EV - lovely.
The car looks almost the same as any other Prius (of course, ours has green tomatoes all over it), but there is a flap on a corner of the rear bumper that conceals the power socket, and a small box behind the steering wheel with an LCD display.
There is an SD memory card in the side of the box, and Amberjac ask that a file on it is emailed to them weekly, so they can monitor performance. The car performs just like any Prius, but some of the under boot space is lost, there's no room for the spare tyre so run flats or a tin of gunge and a pump are needed. The monitoring system slugs the 12v battery so they tell you to plug in at least every 2 days - this also charges the 12v battery. I'll be asking Amberjac what the other numbers mean, watch this space...
- update after 1 recharge
Looking at my meter this morning, it took 7.38 kVA (kilo volt-amperes) to recharge the Prius. Assuming my meter is reasonably accurate (which I have no way of checking), at my current nPower tariff that's 30p worth of overnight electricity. If I'd charged it during the day it works out to Ã‚Â£1.53. I can't say how much of the 41 miles I did since leaving the office (filled the petrol tank 2 miles after leaving) were in EV mode, but it sure seemed like a lot.
And an update at the end of today
Just used the plug-in Prius for local journeys today, totalling 35 miles. About 5 miles each way to Hitchin is 70 mph, with a steep hill. Apart from the dual carriageway it was mostly around 30 mph or less, and in EV mode.
Another thing I've noticed about the conversion; the EV button doesn't seem to do anything, the Amberjac control unit seems to have taken over that role.
Will be interesting to see how much electric it uses tonight.
BTW according to my meter, the charging process was drawing about 1800 watts, to begin with, at least. I didn't look again, as it was on a timer so that it used off-peak electricity.
PeteB - Luton UK
- 02 Silver 'Classic' Prius - 87k miles
Life mpg 51.03 ~ 42.49 ~ 5.54 ~ 18.06 [184 fills]
(UK ~ US gal ~ I/100Km ~ Km/I