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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Transportation Solutions > Green Parking Solutions > Fuel Strategies for Fleets and Business Transportation

Hybrid Auto Options from Batteries to Mobility

Hybrid conversions upgrade gas/brake powered models to electric models for those wanting to significantly reduce their gasoline consumption.

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Automotive hybrids and electric cars are growing in availability and options. Here are a few of the late 2008 upfits available from specialized auto shops:

Plug-in Conversions

Original nickel-metal-hydride battery packs can be replaced with lead acid batteries to extend the distance the car can travel on electricity. Conversions will soon offer even more efficient lithium batteries.

While the 2004-2008 Prius models are the most popular hybrid conversions, these upgrades are also possible on 2005-2008 Mercury Mariner and Ford Escape hybrids, according to Carolyn Coquillette of Luscious Garage in the Bay area.

Hybrid technology is one thing. Then there is plug-in hybrid technology, which is the next step that genuinely removes your dependence on fossil fuel -- especially if you couple the car conversion with a couple solar panels on your roof!

As Coquillette says on the Luscious Garage Web site, "Any car can become a plug-in hybrid, if you have enough money."

According to a Toyota spokesperson, the Prius was not designed with any conversion possibilities in mind, but she said the company welcomes any technology that pushes the envelope on plug-in batteries.

The nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery remains the choice for Prius, Camry and Highlander hybrids, but companies such as Toyota are researching lithium ion batteries.

Plug-in Infrastructure

The current automotive infrastructure for fuel and service is mostly gas-driven. With the electric and hybrid generation of autos, there's a whole new set of skills, supplies and knowledge required. Whether your auto uses natural gas, hydrogen or electricity, part of ownership is upgrading your resources. And that can affect where you drive, how far you drive, and what local shops you visit.

Some companies, malls and fast-food joints will start providing charging stations, but the question is how they will charge for the new "electric fuel".

Luscious Garage
459 Clementina Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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