PHOTO CAPTION: OPPD Fleet Manager Steve Anderson with HyMotion converted Prius.

Hacking Your Hybrid

Why wait? You can create your own plug-in hybrid.

Published: 15-Jan-2009

PRIUS owners are a lot like Macintosh fans. They appreciate the product’s clean design, ingenious packaging, user friendliness and clever engineering. Also like many Macintosh owners, few Prius drivers feel an urge to open the hood and dirty their hands making it go further, faster or do things the manufacturer never dreamed of. Both bought their prized possessions simply to do a job—and to do it straight out of the box with a minimum of fuss.

But not all Prius owners are quite so right-brained. A tiny band of true believers delight in tinkering with the hybrid car’s electrical circuitry. This is not for the faint of heart: do something silly and you can blow a $23,000 fuse.

Your correspondent expects the ranks of hybrid hackers to swell significantly over the next year or two. For one thing, the resale values of hybrid cars, Prius included, have finally begun to tumble to the kind of prices tinkerers can afford.


Earth Policy Institute's Lester Brown offers another way to fuel the cars of the future that doesn't require a switch to natural gas.

Despite Toyota's disapproval of the $500 deposit on future plug-in Prius, one dealer plans to continue accepting them.

Chrysler circulating plug-in hybrid prototypes to dealers more advanced than earlier models. Pictured is the Chrysler EcoVoyager, in one of a trio of electric-drive concept vehicles it debuted at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.


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