Is a product doomed if the highest praise its evaluators can offer is “viable“?
In the February issue of Consumer Reports, CR editors tested a 2008 Toyota Prius equipped with a Hymotion L5 conversion kit sold by A123 systems of Watertown, Mass. The conversion kit failed to deliver its promised 100 mpg, but did spike the prius’ average efficiency of 42-mpg up to 67 mpg for the first 35 miles of driving. But at a $11,000 a pop, CR concluded that the kit “won’t save the consumer money overall.”
For the truly plugged-in, however, Hymotion’s lithium-ion battery conversion kit is only one of the first forays into the world of commercial plug-ins. Here in the states, 3Prong Power of Berkeley, Calif. offers a conversion with old-fashioned lead-acid batteries that promises a 10-mile all-electric range for a more affordable $6,700. And around the Pacific Rim, Chinese automaker BYD Auto presented the world’s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid in December of 2008.