11.24.2009 - by Plug In America
Plug-in Fever Hits Ohio

I was super surprised about a month ago when my brother-in-law from Ohio called to ask if I knew anything about the 3Prong Power conversion kit for Prius vehicles. I hadn’t been keeping up with conversion kit technologies, so I couldn’t give Francis any feedback. Instead, he proceeded to tell me all about it.

IMG_1286 Francis’s neighbor in Cincinnati has decided he wants to drive to and from work everyday — a whopping 12 miles — using fuel from the grid instead of the Prius’s usual confusing mix of battery/gasoline. After doing some research, he found a complete conversion kit that enables one to choose the precise battery pack size/range, thus avoiding the expense of more battery than is desired. My brother-in-law is handy with a wrench – he works on all his family’s Volvos and he can pretty much take apart and put together a motorcycle. So the neighbor asked Francis to do the installation.

I wasn’t so surprised about the kit itself, which is occupying a unique market space for people who want to spend the least amount of money to tailor a minimum desired EV driving range. I was more amazed that a high school teacher — a neighbor of my immediate family — had caught wind of an electric vehicle technology and has chosen to act on it. It excites me to learn about people who are clearly motived about being early adopters.

I never call my folks and friends back in the Midwest proselytizing about plug-in electric vehicles. They are aware of my work with EVs but I don’t spend time immersed in work talk on the phone with them. This thing clearly took hold on its own. Ganance Prius1

This past weekend the kit got installed. Four wires connect the kit to the car. They are now waiting for the batteries to balance, or something like that. The gleaming pride of Francis, pictured, is evident.

My sister took plenty of photos and shared them with all her friends and neighbors. Was it like a good old-fashioned barn raising I wonder how many people in their neighborhood will take an interest and gain a broader awareness of not just conversions, but also the next generation of electric vehicles that are coming out soon from major automakers. I will certainly send them some Plug In America bumper stickers and I look forward to visiting Ohio and riding in the plug-in hybrid electric conversion!

Photos courtesy of Judy Trombly

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