Last post on Aug 08, 2011 at 10:41 AM
You are in the Toyota Prius
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Toyota Prius, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Hybrid Cars, Coupe, Hatchback, Sedan, SUV
#1 of 68 Recharge Prius at Home on AC power?
Aug 15, 2006 (12:24 pm)
I was wondering if anyone has information on recharging Prius batteries to full charge at home using AC power, but WITHOUT changing the battery set.
The idea is simple. Prius batteries are allowed to run lower than full charge to optimize fuel use. At your house electricity is cheaper than gas, so charging your car is cheaper than using the car as a generator to recharge it.
Should be pretty simple, and boost mileage a bit.
#2 of 68 Re: Recharge Prius at Home on AC power? [jjgoodwin]
Aug 15, 2006 (1:03 pm)
LithIon batteries are dangerous to re-charge home, and the car isn't designed to do that on purpose. You did not purchase an electric vehicle, but a hybrid. There is a BIG difference.
You could have saved yourself thousands of dollars and bought a golf cart if you wanted an electric car.
The prius is not made to run on electric other than backing up and starting the trip. It is made and designed to work with its ICE gasoline engine.
#3 of 68 Re: Recharge Prius at Home on AC power? [terry92270]
Aug 16, 2006 (5:25 am)
The Prius uses NiMH batteries, not Li-ion.
#4 of 68 Re: Recharge Prius at Home on AC power? [terry92270]
Aug 16, 2006 (6:20 am)
As the other poster said, Prius uses NiMH not Lithium Ion batteries.
Also, both of those battery materials are commonly purchased at any store in all sizes.
Lithium Ion is not especially dangerous, if properly charged, and heat is monitored. Standard NiMH consumer grade (AA type) batteries can be recharged usually with similar or the same circuits that recharge NiCad batteries.
I don't know if it's feasible, but I wonder if it would be possible to charge the vehicle through the 12V port while the car is "powered on". This might cause it to use the built in charge controller.
#5 of 68 Re: Recharge Prius at Home on AC power? [jjgoodwin]
Aug 16, 2006 (7:29 am)
Sorry to have mistyped LithIon instead of NiMH....BUT you miss the point:
The Prius is not made to run on electricity other than backing up and starting the trip. It is made and designed to work with its ICE engine.
#6 of 68 Re: Recharge Prius at Home on AC power? [terry92270]
Aug 16, 2006 (7:42 am)
Toyota is pursuing the idea of offering the Prius with PHEV capability within the next few years. It is primarily just a matter of bigger battery packs and modified software. There already is a plug-in thread that discusses this matter extensively. There are a handful of companies that will modify an existing Prius to make it a PHEV. Two major problems with this is that it is expensive, 9-12 thousand dollars, and Toyota will void your warranty. Nevertheless it has been done and, if you ignore the price for the conversion, it does result in considerable lower costs. Because, as stated earlier, grid electricity is much cheaper per mile driven than burning gasoline.
#7 of 68 Re: Recharge Prius at Home on AC power? [terry92270]
Aug 16, 2006 (7:44 am)
I somewhat agree. The Prius is already over weight for the suspension and tires. Enough batteries to give any reasonable distance would really make it too heavy for the less than great brakes it has.
As far as Li-Ion batteries being safe. They have critical parameters that have to be followed or they can become dangerous. Ask the 4.1 million Dell laptop owners with Sony Li-Ion batteries being recalled.
#8 of 68 Re: Recharge Prius at Home on AC power? [terry92270]
Aug 16, 2006 (7:56 am)
I'm not really looking to run the Prius only on batteries.
I'm just thinking since the Prius doesn't top off the batteries, because then it'll have no room to use things like regenerative braking, it might be good to fully charge it at night, and then the first mile or so could be on batteries since I live in a residential area, where I have many turns, and must go slow speeds.
It wouldn't be much, but I figured if it was easy to do once I park in my garage, it would be a little extra every day.
Basically, the way I see it. If you don't introduce outside power, all the power that goes into the batteries comes (at some point) from gasoline. If you put some power in from the outside, it won't need to charge the batteries.
I'm not looking to replace the batteries, or make an all electric vehicle. I *was* thinking I could plug it in, recharge it at night, and get cheap costs on the next mile or two worth of driving.
This is not crucial, as 45-60mpg, you are starting to split hairs when you don't have a daily commute (although I'm 20 miles from any well-known stores).
#9 of 68 Re: Recharge Prius at Home on AC power? [jjgoodwin]
Aug 16, 2006 (7:57 am)
The Prius battery can be recharged at home. Search the net and you'll find the special 200V charger required. You can't charge the "traction battery" from the 12V system, though you can charge the 12V battery from the 208 V system.
What you have to realize is the current car is a "system". All parts are interrelated. The system is designed to maintain the "traction battery" between 30 and 70% charge. There are several reasons for this:
1. Stopping charging at 70% allows "headroom" to recover kinetic energy via regenerative braking - accounting for about 20% of the fuel savings the car manages. If the battery ends up with too much charge the system will "dump" the energy - resulting in poorer mileage.
2. Keeping the traction battery between 30 and 70% charge lengthens battery life - a lot. When you charge a NiMH battery above 70% charge it starts to convert a lot of the charge energy to heat - and that is the enemy of most batteries and this type in particular. That's why most "rapid chargers" you can find shut down "rapid charge" mode at 70-80% charge and switch to "trickle charge" mode. If you get them too hot they will vent gas and electrolyte - and very little of that will leave them as dead weight.
3. If you try to run on battery power only it will take you a few miles. It's a "small" battery in the world of electric cars. Charging it to full would add perhaps one or two miles to its' range. Not really worth it considering the down side - shortened life.
What some have done is increase the battery size by adding another in parallel. This allows more energy to be stored and a longer range on electric mode (search for EV switch), making electric mode almost practical for short runs for groceries, for example. The extra battery capacity also allows capture of more kinetic energy via regenerative braking. This has reportedly improved mileage into the 100 MPG range. It has also added weight - about 70-80 lbs for the extra battery, and loss of some cargo room.
Generally you wouldn't want to parallel batteries, as one tends to get overcharged and the other undercharged - not the best situation for battery life, but because the Prius operates the battery in the 30-70% charge range this doesn't seem to cause problems.
The rumour is the 2008 Prius will have home charging capability and a larger capacity battery - perhaps a lithium ion type to decrease weight and volume. We shall see.
#10 of 68 Re: Recharge Prius at Home on AC power? [tpe]
Aug 16, 2006 (8:00 am)
Many things have been done, including making cars that run on Hydrogen. Much better, only they EXPLODE in accidents!
If you ignore the price of conversion, that is lunacy. If you consider the real-world, not the fantasy one that may come someday, conversion and electricity is hugely more expensive than gas. The future will most likely belong to Hydrogen, not some fantasy battery that is light weight and powers a Navigator!