Check out this site that shows the FEH converted to a PHEV! They calim 140mpg city and 40mpg highway with the conversion! They also seem to have a Ranger EV conversion avalable and say they will be selling already converted '09 FEH next year.
The same site talks about converting your FEH to a PHEV with existing battery pack. This would seem to be a reasonable idea that could net as much as a 15% improvement for me on my way to work. Has anyone looked into this? Lion EV seems to be promoting this but I can't seem to find where they are actually selling the charger. They have an (incomplete) installation guide here: http://www.lionev.com/DIY_Escape_PHEV_Hybrid.html
The theory seems like a good one. I often deplete my battery on my way home because I can drive in EV mode for at least the last mile or so. The trouble with that is, when I cold start the next morning or take off for another trip that same afternoon, the battery has to be charged back to 53%, which wastes gas. If you could start off with a battery that is charged to 60% or more, no fuel would be spent trying to charge the battery back up. I've also noticed for the first couple of minutes of driving on a cold start, I'm in EV mode anyway. That further depletes the battery and requires it to be charged back to 53% even if I didn't deplete it on the drive home. I looked for a thread on this subject but didn't find anything.
Here's the main question - It seems like it would be a fairly inexpensive conversion to just add a charger that would top off your existing battery. What I don't know is, would it work? Would the computer be able to deal with the strange condition of a fully charged battery upon cold start up? I'm sure there are other considerations as well.
Last edited by corski67; 04-26-2011 at 03:18 PM.
Reason: Grammatical error
If you could start off with a battery that is charged to 60% or more....
If one could charge the hybrid battery overnight to 60% (SOC) or more, the vehicle would automatically burn off this excess charge until the SOC was lowered to 53%. FORDSoftware is designed this way to promote longitivity of the hybrid battery. The normal SOC range is 40-53%.
2005 4WD Escape Hybrid
Best Interstatetank trip E20 MPG 34.6 for 271 miles along I-80 in Indiana and Ohio. May 2008
Best multiple road tank trip E20 MPG 36.2 for 202 miles in Southwestern Pa. July 2008.
Best multiple road tank trip E50 38.1 MG for 246 miles in Northern Wisconsin Aug 2012
I've got the 4kwh Enginer kit (enginer.us) in my 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD. There can be some glitches but when it's working (like it is now) I'm getting 47.5 mpg with 70/30 city/highway driving. Cost is $3-4K with federal and many state tax incentives. I do some basic hypermiling. I'm sure the experts here could get phenomenal FE out of the kit.
I was a bit surprised when I saw this post about LionEV. In the public interest, I feel obliged to post a message.
The message is, “caveat emptor.” I have been waiting since 2007 for a refund of $11,200.00 for product that was never delivered. Many others are in the same situation, except several of them lost a lot more than I.
Before you purchase anything from LionEV, Google Kenneth W Curry II. He is the founder and principle of LionEV, along with his wife, Kathy. He was convicted of fraud a few years ago. I learned today that he was released January 2010 and I am sad to see that he is now back in the EV business.
Wow! That's part of why I posted the question. It seemed fishy to me. I'm still a little baffled as to why a conversion is not on the market to do what I described. The cost would be minimal if it's just a charger and no need for an additional battery. As Bill mentioned, the system is engineered to maximize battery life. It seems to work as designed since batteries are pretty cheap (compared to new) on the salvage market. If demand was higher the prices would be high. Even at 60% or more I wouldn't think there would be a problem with battery life. Unexpected battery generated heat might be an issue though... I would love to learn more about how to do such a retrofit. Would someone please engineer and sell such a charger? It's all yours - Feel free to steal the idea and profit accordingly!
C'mon folks... The silence on this subject is deafening. I don't believe that I'm the only one to look into the idea of just adding a PHEV charger to a stock HEV. Anybody? I've written to several installers of PHEV systems - Only one response trying to sell me an expensive battery upgrade system. Even if you only increased mileage by 10-15%, there are all kinds of devices on the market for gas guzzlers (some at ridiculous prices) that net lower gains than that. If my own driving tests are any indication, 15% would be a pretty conservative estimate of what might be possible if you could charge the stock traction battery up as high as 80% for the start of your commute every day.