High MPG hybrid car (250 Miles per gallon)

I think I first saw these stories Friday night, but several places are reporting on various efforts to modify current hybrid vehicles to squeeze higher mileage out of them. This is the true spirit of “hacking” in some ways. It looks that by adding extra batteries (and recharging those off of house mains), there’s one individual that can get 80 miles per gallon. Others have claimed up to 250 Miles per gallon

Additionally, there is a company that claims to have acheived 230 miles per gallon with a similar approach. The company mentioned, Energy CS, will convert hybrids to “plugins” for about $12,000 starting next year.

Okay, energy conservation is great, gas prices are steep right now, but… I did a bit of math and firgured that for my car usage patterns at current gas prices, assuming that the vehicle got 20 miles per gallon currently (The Prius get’s more than that…), I would be able to pay for this $12,000 conversion in gas savings in somewhere around 50 years. (It would be less if the price of gas continues to climb, my usage of the vehicle goes up, etc. etc.)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see this kind of tinkering and modifications of an idea. It’s what will ultimately help us conserve resources, but at this point I don’t see the direct cost-benefit favoring this conversion. Maybe as battery technology improves/cheapens that will improve? Unfortunately batteries are one of the limiting factors in a lot of areas currently.

It’s similar in some ways to solar energy. I’ve tinkered with solar a fair amount. I have a few panels (2 of which I’ve assembled myself.) I use them to charge either of 2 “little” Sealed lead acid batteris (one is 31 Amp hours, the other is 18 Amp hours.) It’s basically for emergency use for lights,radio and other little stuff. I looked at the rough price of a whole house system out of curiousity. Ultimately, taking into account tax credits (at the time – the new energy bill has passed since then), I decided that to be competitive there was a factor of 4 times cost that would have to change. Either energy would have to be four times as expensive, or the means of producing it yourself (solar panels) would have to be four times cheaper.

Both things are possible and of course greater swings in energy price could magnify your savings. Good to see the beginnings of ultra-high mileage cars though.

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