In 2008, Country Energy funded the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) to convert one of their Toyota Prius HEV to a PHEV. The project was a joint collaboration between ISF and the UTS Faculty of Engineering. This project was conceived to build on and complement the work of Country Energy's Intelligent Community Project About the Country Energy PHEV.
About the Country Energy PHEV
The Country Energy PHEV, a converted Toyota Prius, can run on a combination of electricity and petrol as for conventional hybrids. However, the vehicle also has very safe and lightweight Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries fitted to it, so it can be charged using electricity from a normal household power point. If renewable energy (Green Power) is used to charge the car, this can effectively render the vehicle carbon neutral for commuting, as it can run on electricity for over 32 km which is the average daily commute in Sydney, the highest average in the country. Using electricity to drive this car costs as little as a quarter of the price of petrol-powered motoring. The Country Energy PHEV also has an advanced electronic control system, designed in-house at UTS which incorporates control and safety functionalities such as temperature, smoke detection and arc detection.
- Base model: 2004 Toyota Prius
- 4.1kWh K2 Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) additional battery pack (35kg)
- Range in electric only vehicle mode of over 35km at low speeds
- Cost to recharge on Green Power at $0.18 per kWh is less than $1
- Fuel economy of under 2L/100km in city driving (depending on conditions and driving style). This gives a fuel cost equivalent of under $0.40 per litre of petrol compared to a conventional mid size car with petrol at $1.50 per litre.
- More than 2000 charge cycles/discharge cycles down to 80% capacity
- Maximum battery discharge rate of 80A (20kW)
- Cost of about $15,000 for parts
- Interfaces seamlessly with the Toyota Hybrid System and Toyota OEM battery
- Charged off standard 240V power using on board battery charger with adjustable charge time of between 30min and 6 hours. (Charging efficiency of more than 90%)
- Inverter capable of delivering 1kW of power out of the vehicle
- Embodied energy in batteries estimated at approximately 1 ton of CO2-eq (paid off in 1 year if charging using renewable energy)