February 24, 2006 Start-up Canadian company Hymotion unveiled a PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) Technology at the Canadian International Autoshow in Toronto earlier this week. Logically, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles are more fossil-fuel-efficient than existing hybrids as they can be recharged by plugging into a regular household electrical outlet and can hence travel for a greater percentage of each journey on solely electrical power.
The Hymotion PHEV has an additional battery system that extends the car’s battery storage capacity, while still allowing it to operate as a normal hybrid car. In effect, if a PHEV is only used within the limits of its electrical storage capacity, it offers a pure electric and zero-emission car. According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), half the cars in the U.S. are driven just 25 miles a day or less so a plug-in vehicle with even a 20-mile range could reduce petroleum fuel consumption by about 60 percent. While conventional hybrids obtain most of their energy from gasoline, the Hymotion (and any other) PHEV acquires most its energy from the electric grid during off peak hours.
Initially, the Hymotion PHEV kit will cost US$9500 for a Ford Escape or Toyota Prius, and will be sold only to Government and fleet owners but with volume production driving pricing down, a target price of US$5000 is expected by the time the kit becomes available to the public 12 months from now. The advantages of PHEV include better fuel economy, fewer visits to gas station, lower fuel costs, less pollution and longer range in all-electric mode - the solution for spiking gas prices, CO2 emissions and dependence on imported oil. Hymotion currently has systems available for Toyota Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid with systems under development for Lexus RX400h, Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid.
The Hymotion PHEV system can offer average fule consumption figures of better than 100 miles per gallon and if used only for short trips, 500 miles per gallon is possible according to the company.
The fitting of the Hymotion PHEV system sees no factory parts or components replaced or removed from the vehicle. The plug-and-play PHEV system engineered by Hymotion boosts the electric storage capacity of the vehicle by up to a factor of seven times, increasing the electric-only range.
And since the whole system, which includes the smart charger, electronics and battery, is smaller and lighter than the factory NiMh battery box, one does not require a trunk full of batteries to achieve such efficiency and performance.
When the PHEV drives on battery power alone, it produces zero emissions, making it very environmentally friendly. Hymotion PHEV system can go longer on battery power alone, and combusting gasoline inside the engine became optional.
Anthony Wei, Vice-President Business Development explains: "The secret ingredient to the 100 plus miles per gallon performance is the Lithium Ion Polymer technology in our PHEV battery. It's smaller, lighter, and more powerful than the NiMH batteries currently use in all Hybrid vehicle. This is the future."
Unfortunately, the Lithium Ion Polymer technology is what costs all the money at present. Initially, the Hymotion PHEV kit will cost US$9500 for a Ford Escape or Toyota Prius, and will be sold only to Government and fleet owners but with volume production driving pricing of the Lithium Ion Polymer batteries down, a target price of US$5000 is expected by the time the kit becomes available to the public 12 months from now.
“Right now it is only offered to fleets and governments and we’re looking for them to help establish the market,” said Wei.
Hymotion is a green technology company with headquarters and research and development lab in Toronto, Canada. The company also has offices in Boston, USA, and five subcontractor facilities across North America. "We, as a green technology company, believe that Plug-in Hybrid is the most favorable ecological solution for the future in the automotive industry," said Hymotion President Ricardo Bazzarella.