Hybrids Can Be Reworked To Get Even Higher Mileage

By dancurranjr On September 2nd, 2008

When Robbie Robinson watched Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” he felt compelled to toss his political views aside and become an even bigger “tree hugger.”

“I’m a staunch Republican, but thought we’ve got to do something about our environment. It should not be a political issue. I mean, we want to make this earth better for our kids, our grandkids, for everyone,” said Robinson.

The first change Robinson made was to convert his hybrid to a plug-in hybrid. The majority of the power needed to run his Toyota Prius now comes from a standard wall outlet. “I go to the gas station once a month! I can go 1,000 miles on a tank of gas and can actually go across the U.S. with three fill-ups. Of course, I have to stop and plug in every once in a while,” said Robinson with smile and a chuckle as he showed off his converted hybrid.

The process took him a few months to complete, but he now believes others can do this same procedure within a day. Most of his information came from the Internet. “If I can do this — I’m not an engineer, I got the information off the Internet for free — other people can do it. We just have to keep this thing going,” said Robinson.

In the back of his Prius, where the spare tire was once stored, you will now find a variety of electronics. There are 20 lead acid batteries, two cooling fans, a bunch of fuses, and numerous mini jumper cables. He said the key to the entire process is to get the batteries to power the car at the right time to get the best mileage. His car is programmed to use the electric power before tapping into the gas tank.

Robinson has even thought past hybrid conversion to find a cleaner way to recharge the batteries. He’s installed eight solar panels on the roof of his home. “I can drive around on sunshine. So, I don’t have to worry about the coal-fired electric plant. I can charge my car from the sun,” said Robinson.

He has told Toyota about the alterations he’s made to his Prius and he knows that the warranty may no longer be valid. “Toyota doesn’t like people altering their cars. However, cars like this put pressure on them to make a plug-in, which now they are doing,” said Robinson.

For Robinson, that’s one step closer to his goal of encouraging the auto industry to use this concept now.

Source: The Denver Channel

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