Hymotion, a Canadian company, has given a boost in battery power to Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrids, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Their plug-in hybrid (PHEV) upgrade kit adds a supplementary lithium-ion battery to vehicles to go with the NiMH battery that comes from the factory. The new battery charges from being plugged in while the car is not in use. It also charges in operation from the engine and regenerative braking. Once the juice runs out for the new battery, the car goes back to normal performance, drawing from the NiMH battery. The PHEV system doesn’t change the performance of the vehicles. The Prius for example, can still only go at low speeds if operating in all-electric mode.
The extra range and battery performance of the PHEV system comes at a steep price. The cost for the Prius upgrade is $9,500 Canadian or $8,300 US dollars. The price for the Ford Escape kit hasn’t been set yet, but it will be quite a bit higher, since that system is 2.5 times more powerful. At this point, the company is targeting only fleet sales of 100 or more, with an additional discount for 1,000 units. They want more durability testing before they sell directly to consumers.