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AutoBlog: REPORT: 115 Plug-in Toyota Prius test cars fail to crack 50 mpg average in year-long test

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plug-in-hymoiton-grab-for-idaho.pngWhen Consumer Reports tested out the Hymotion L5 plug-in Toyota Prius conversion earlier this year, they weren't overwhelmed with the results. Sure, the mileage they observed was boosted to about 67 mpg over the first 35 miles of the drive, but that didn't match the claims of 100 mpg (or more) that Hymotion and A123 Systems make about their product.

To be fair to Hymotion, their qualifies mileage talk about their plug-in Prius MPG "that can achieve up to 100 mpg for 30-40 miles" this way:

Hymotion PHEV fuel economy is based on independent testing performed at Argonne National Labs and Idaho National Labs. Actual mileage will vary based on each individual's driving style, route, traffic, climate conditions, terrain and other factors
.

Unfortunately for Hymotion, there are new results of tests done at the Idaho National Laboratory now available and they might make the company a little less eager to promote the work done by INL. The lab drove two groups of Prius test vehicles (one 40-car fleet and another 75-car fleet) from early 2008 until March 2009 for almost 500,000 miles and found that the average fuel economy tallied 46 and 49 mpg, respectively. As you might expect, driving style and the battery mode (charge sustaining vs. charge depeleting) had a big impact on the figures. You can view the result data in these PDFs: 1, 2. Add it all up, and it sounds like PHEV proponents might want to take former Tesla marketing boss Darryl Siry's advice to electric vehicle manufacturers to heart.

What do you think - are plug-in hybrids the next big thing, an overhyped solution, or something in between? Drop us a line in the comments.

[sources: Idaho National Laboratory; Hydrogen Car Revolution]

REPORT: 115 Plug-in Toyota Prius test cars fail to crack 50 mpg average in year-long test originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Jun 2009 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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sounds like what might happen to volts when they are tested, though they might be a little better than this....

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Is that the reason why LG Chem was selected as a battery supplier for Volt.

Real world tests would really be interesting for vehicles like these. On side note CR tested one of these vehicles and saw the fuel economy jump from 42 to 67 mpg.

While the main storyline for Consumer Reports' February issue revolves around the new Hyundai Genesis and its toppling of the mighty Lexus ES350 as the mag's top-rated entry-level luxury sedan, another tidbit of information regarding next month's rag caught our attention. Apparently, CR purchased a Hymotion L5 plug-in Prius conversion kit from A123 Systems, and testing proved to be a mixed bag. We don't have full details to share regarding the kit's installation or full fuel mileage statistics, but CR's press release indicates that the PHEV managed to increase its mpg rating from 42 to 67 over the first 35 miles of driving. Perhaps this will be an ongoing series from the consumer-oriented publication. While that kind of mileage increase is meaningful, it would take a very long time to recoup the $11,000 purchase price of Hymotion's kit. Still, "the technology itself proved viable," according to CR.
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