Can the 2008 Toyota Prius be all electric?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    For what length of time?

    As a full hybrid, the Prius is able to run on the electric motor only for speeds up to 42mph and maximum of about 2 miles (based on an owner who ran out of gasoline at highway speeds while at the top of a long hill...). The hybrid battery pack is relatively small and primarily charged off of the gasoline engine acting as a generator (although some electricity is stored through regenerative braking).

    If you have a non-North American 2008 Prius, then it would have the EV button already installed. This would allow you to temporarily override the gasoline engine starting when you turn on the car, allowing you to go for short distances at lower speeds on electric-only power. (The car will override your EV button request if the batttery charge gets too low, or your speed is too high, and for other self preservation reasons.) If you are in North America, you can self-install this EV button (as the functionality is in the car, just no button for it), but there are warranty concerns... Besides, TANSTAFL - the electricity has to come from somewhere, so eventually the gasoline engine will have to come on just to recharge the battery, and forcing the engine to come on later may not be as efficient as having just let the car start it as it wanted to originally before you pressed the EV override button...

    (BTW: see Toyota's EV button answer in their FAQ, question 25, in http://www.toyota.com/vehicles/2008/prius/faq.html )

    There are no commercially-available plug-in hybrids on the market so far. (So you cannot plug them in, other than the same gas station pump that most other regular cars use.) The hybrid battery is recharged either through regenerative braking (kinetic energy from coasting/slowing down spins a generator to make potential energy in the battery) or by taking excess power from the gasoline engine (use the gasoline engine as a generator) to recharge the hybrid battery. There is no plug.

    Some hobbiests and aftermarket companies have been altering a few hybrids (Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid/Mercury Mariner Hybrid) to make them plug-in capable. Typically this requires adding additional hybrid batteries, besides the ability to charge off the mains.

    For more information, check out http://www.calcars.org/vehicles.html

    For cost reasons, unless you are a fleet owner or other high-mileage driver it probably will not be worth the cost of the PHEV conversion for you. (Conversion pricing is high due to startup costs and low volumes, besides the pricing of the needed additional battery packs.)

    To note, converting to a PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) does not reduce the vehicle's range. It gives the owner the option to recharge the (newly added larger) hybrid battery pack at night (cheap electricity and off-peak electric load which would otherwise be lost). The vehicle would run for a certain distance (longer than stock) on the stored electric power alone, and when the battery pack is depleted to a certain point the vehicle reverts back to its original hybrid self and runs on a combination of the gasoline engine (which will also recharge the battery) and the electric motor. A PHEV would add a greater all-electric range to the existing hybrid, besides the ability (but not the requirement!) to plug it into an electric source.

    I suppose that one could convert a Prius to be a BEV (battery electric vehicle) - all electric, but that would require a lot of work and modifications. You would need to add in larger or more battery packs, a way to charge them externally off the mains, and probably a larger electric motor as well. You would also have to change out the battery management software, and might as well cut down on weight by removing the gasoline engine and fuel system... Can it be done? sure, but why mess with an already good car?

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  • Chad F
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    No, the batt will need to be charged some way. You will not get more than 1 mile on the batt alone, they were not designed for that.

    Total Electric cars use more batt cells and a different motor.

    Source(s): 10 Year Toyota Master Prius Certified
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  • 1 decade ago

    Hackers have modded their prius' to get over 100mpg at the expense of battery life. All electric is also possible.

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  • 1 decade ago

    if you can find a way to detach the gasoline motor and wire the eletric motor to work full time. yes, however you'll have to break alot to regain the electricity used up. best of luck

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  • 1 decade ago

    YES

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