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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05-31-2010, 09:47 PM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
 
Real Name: Jack
Location: Houston, Texas
Hybrids: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi
Posts: 373
Default The First Plug-in Camry Hybrid Conversion

I have completed installation of what I believe is the first Plug-in conversion of a Camry Hybrid. Thanks to leads posted on this forum and some encouragement from members here, I'm using the Enginer system from Automation Tech. (Note: the spelling of their TM name is "Enginer," not "engineer.")

I first installed a 2 kilowatt-hour system. Following some evaluation of the 2 KWH unit, I upgraded to a 4 KWH system.

I just completed the upgrade last Friday. I will be continuing to evaluate, and I will continue to post any significant news, but here are my brief observations, so far.


1. The design, construction and system engineering seem to be very well done. (I am a mechanical engineer with substantial experience in equipment design as well as test and evaluation.)

2. The system is very non-invasive to the Camry.

3. The system enclosure is a box 20 in by 36 in by 6 in high. It mounts on the floor of the trunk. (The 2KWH system and the 4 KWH system use the same enclosure box.) Living with the box for over a month, I really have not missed the loss of 6 inches of the trunk space height, and I doubt that I ever will, With the unit installed in the trunk, the pass-through behind the right rear seat is not at all obstructed, and there is still 14 inches of trunk space height. (Heck, my other very much larger car has only 17 inches of height in the trunk space.)

4. The unit charges from 110 v AC and takes about 750 watts, max. Recharging from effectively drained seems to take about 4 hours typically; so although it's a nominal 4 KWH unit, recharging typically consumes only about 3 KWH. The system has adequate controls to shut off charging automatically so that charging can be done unattended.

5. On my first test drive with the 2 KWH system, under 40 mph with extremely favorable conditions, I averaged over 70 mpg for a range of 16 to 17 miles. Judging from the minute-by-minute mpg dispaly on the navigation unit trip info screen, I estimate that the car remained in EV mode about 70% of the time. I expect that the 4 KWH system should be able to deliver similar performance for up to roughly twice that range of miles, but I have not yet found the opportunity to repeat that test.

6. Last Saturday I averaged over 50 mpg, for about 10 miles while using the A/C FULL BLAST, running a series of errands with the kind of very short trip distances that would usually give me 25 mpg or less.

7. The big mpg penalty we usually pay to run a lot of A/C seems to be completely eliminated with this system.

8. I look forward to experiencing the performance over a wider variety of driving conditions, but right now I'm imagining that the unit could cut my gasoline consumption by as much as half.

Stay tuned for breaking news.

Last edited by Smilin' Jack; 06-02-2010 at 02:26 PM. Reason: typos
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-01-2010, 01:55 AM
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Real Name: Larry
Location: New Jersey
Hybrids: non-NAV '08 "The Gray Lady"
Posts: 1,987
Default Re: The First Plug-in Camry Hybrid Conversion

Just wondering (from a dollars and sense cost analysis) what did this cost?
Will this car be deemed "no longer covered by warranty?"
For those of us that don't know, what is the simply explanation of what your car now does? How is it different, for the non-engineers out there?
Thanks!

.

For answers to (almost) every question... **Toyota Camry Hybrid New Owner's F.A.Q. **
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 06-01-2010, 05:11 AM
Active Enthusiast
 
Location: Winnipeg, CANADA
Hybrids: 2009 TCH - Desert Sand Mica
Posts: 192
Default Re: The First Plug-in Camry Hybrid Conversion

Is this auxiliary battery pack recharged by the TCH or only by plugin?
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:35 PM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
 
Real Name: Jack
Location: Houston, Texas
Hybrids: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi
Posts: 373
Default Re: The First Plug-in Camry Hybrid Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by haroldo View Post
Just wondering (from a dollars and sense cost analysis) what did this cost?
Will this car be deemed "no longer covered by warranty?"
For those of us that don't know, what is the simply explanation of what your car now does? How is it different, for the non-engineers out there?
Thanks!
Larry,

Thanks for joining the discussion and for re-focusing me on the "big picture" items.

Re. the cost: The 2KWH system sells for $1995.00, and the 4KWH for $3495.00.

Re the warranty question: This system is so minimally invasive that I do not see how the warranty could be affected. The Enginer unit US distributor, Automation Tech. advises that there should be no warranty issue, and that at least some dealers have agreed. They further point out that current Federal law prohibits auto manufacturers from arbitrarily claiming voided warranty for unrelated aftermarket product additions.

As for a simple explanation:

The system consists of an auxiliary (Lithium Ion) battery pack, a battery charger, a voltage converter and some controls.

The auxiliary batteries approximately triple or quintuple the car's battery capacity.

The charger permits re-charging of the auxiliary batteries from a normal household electric outlet.

The converter allows transfer of charge from the auxiliary batteries to the car's battery pack.

Controls are set up to prevent overcharging of the car's batteries during transfer, overcharging of the auxiliary batteries during re-charging or over-draining of the auxiliary batteries during charge transfer to the car's batteries.

I hope that helps.

Jack
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:40 PM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
 
Real Name: Jack
Location: Houston, Texas
Hybrids: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi
Posts: 373
Default Re: The First Plug-in Camry Hybrid Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by BOFH View Post
Is this auxiliary battery pack recharged by the TCH or only by plugin?
BOFH:

Thanks for joining the discussion.

No. The auxiliary battery pack is re-charged only by the plug-in charger.

Jack
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 06-01-2010, 05:58 PM
Moderator
 
Real Name: David
Location: NW Georgia
Hybrids: Camry
Posts: 1,015
Default Re: The First Plug-in Camry Hybrid Conversion

Jack,

I have been looking forward to this.... Any pics available?

As for the install itself, were the connections to the system difficult? How many connections to the existing wiring were made? Does Automation Tech plan on offering these as a kit just for the Camry with any required wiring harness/connectors included?

Glad to see that you finished.....

David
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 06-01-2010, 06:58 PM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
 
Real Name: Jack
Location: Houston, Texas
Hybrids: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi
Posts: 373
Default Re: The First Plug-in Camry Hybrid Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgiaHybrid View Post
Jack,

I have been looking forward to this.... Any pics available?

As for the install itself, were the connections to the system difficult? How many connections to the existing wiring were made? Does Automation Tech plan on offering these as a kit just for the Camry with any required wiring harness/connectors included?

Glad to see that you finished.....

David
David,

There are exactly 4 connections to the TCH: plus and minus high voltage DC for the charge transfer and ready and ground for a 12 v. control signal.

Possibly on the kit.

Stay tuned for pix.

Jack

Last edited by Smilin' Jack; 06-01-2010 at 07:07 PM. Reason: punctuation
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 06-02-2010, 03:54 AM
Ridiculously Active Enthusiast
 
Real Name: Larry
Location: New Jersey
Hybrids: non-NAV '08 "The Gray Lady"
Posts: 1,987
Default Re: The First Plug-in Camry Hybrid Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilin' Jack View Post
Larry,

Thanks for joining the discussion and for re-focusing me on the "big picture" items...
LOL...
Years in this forum (seeing many tips, ideas, etc.) has got me thinking of the cost (hassle) /benefit analysis. I'm the guy who sees it as a car. I turn it on, drive it and turn it off, so I'm always intrigued by the various strategies I see.

Quote:
...Re. the cost: The 2KWH system sells for $1995.00, and the 4KWH for $3495.00....
Logical follow on questions...
  • How much do you expect to save, in terms of fuel cost over the life of the vehicle? (I assume the average car is kept for 120,000 miles, @ 37MPG is ~3250 gallons, @ $3/gallon is ~$9,700 lifetime fuel costs)
  • How much do you expect the household electric costs to be?
  • One more (dumb) question...weight, since it affects overall mileage, how much weight was added and (based upon guesstimates, as to how much each 100 pounds affect mileage), has this entered into the calculation?
  • Finally, how long is the break even...if ever?

.

For answers to (almost) every question... **Toyota Camry Hybrid New Owner's F.A.Q. **
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 06-02-2010, 08:23 AM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
 
Real Name: Jack
Location: Houston, Texas
Hybrids: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi
Posts: 373
Default Re: The First Plug-in Camry Hybrid Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by haroldo View Post
LOL...
Years in this forum (seeing many tips, ideas, etc.) has got me thinking of the cost (hassle) /benefit analysis. I'm the guy who sees it as a car. I turn it on, drive it and turn it off, so I'm always intrigued by the various strategies I see.


Logical follow on questions...
  • How much do you expect to save, in terms of fuel cost over the life of the vehicle? (I assume the average car is kept for 120,000 miles, @ 37MPG is ~3250 gallons, @ $3/gallon is ~$9,700 lifetime fuel costs)
  • How much do you expect the household electric costs to be?
  • One more (dumb) question...weight, since it affects overall mileage, how much weight was added and (based upon guesstimates, as to how much each 100 pounds affect mileage), has this entered into the calculation?
  • Finally, how long is the break even...if ever?
Potentially logical answers:

Re. savings and payback:
I will need to collect a good bit more data to estimate payback period - probably at least a whole tank refill. Stay tuned for news on that.

That said, it appears to me that the payoff will depend upon the type of driving. For drivers with very long mostly highway commutes or for those who already average very high mpg (say over 45 mpg) the payoff will probably not work very well. For the rest of us it may work out quite well.

Based on my first test drive only, I estimate that electricity for the charge required per gallon of gas saved was less than 8 kilowatt hours; that is, an electricity cost of less than $1.00 per gallon of gas saved.

Re cost of electricity:
Here in Houston we can get electricity at rates ranging from 8 cents to 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. Right now I could lock in a rate of 10 cents for electricity from 100% renewable generation, possibly even for all wind and hydro, in which case I could perhaps cut my carbon dioxide emissions in half !

Re. the weight effect:
The 2 KWH system weighs under 120 lbs.; the 4 KWH is under 180 lbs. (interestingly about the weight of one passenger).
Since this is only a few percent of the weight of the car and since only part of the fuel requirement is due to weight, I think that the weight penalty is pretty small in comparison to the plug-in benefit. Please note also that the added weight penalty is already included in my observations.

Last edited by Smilin' Jack; 06-02-2010 at 02:25 PM. Reason: typos, clarity
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:18 PM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
 
Real Name: Jack
Location: Houston, Texas
Hybrids: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi
Posts: 373
Default Re: The First Plug-in Camry Hybrid Conversion


The unit mounted in the trunk, uncovered
Click to access larger view


The unit in the trunk, covered with the trunk floor mat and with a small soft kit in the space in front of the unit


The unit in the trunk, covered with the trunk floor mat and my overstuffed two-computer bag

Last edited by Smilin' Jack; 06-02-2010 at 04:01 PM. Reason: click instructions
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:18 PM
 
 
 
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