Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

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Re: Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

Postby Billyk - October 15th, 2011, 12:26 am

The Sanyo hybrid battery pack found in the 2005 thru 2008 Escape Hybrid comes in at around 110lbs. The 2009 Escape and newer models feature an improved design that is suppose to be lighter and more powerful. Part of this improvement is due to software changes/improvements.

There are 3rd party vendors that can convert your "normal" Escape Hybrid into a "plug in version" but the costs are quite steep at $30,000+. Some of these vendors-such as Hybrids Plus out of Boulder, Colorado-no longer exist due to various reasons.

The Escape is a small SUV with a large frontal profile compared to the Prius. Thus, the Escape is at a significant disadvantage when attempting to maximize fuel economy and bragging rights. Those hypermilers have to drive differently (and often in questionable manners) than "Jane and Joe Sixpack" to obtain those high values. Pulse and Glide is a frequently utilized technique not previously mentioned. If you want Prius like MPG's, then you need to get out of the Escape and drive something different.
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Re: Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

Postby hcbflash - October 15th, 2011, 5:49 am

I feel that Ford is not very agressive in pursuing the EV/HEV market, certainly not by consumer electronics standards. (Sounds like the 70s or 80s). Battery technology since 2000, even 2005, has been making leaps and bounds, but Ford has made no battery upgrades available. An upgraded battery pack along with software/firmware based control upgrades could probably get us another 10 MPG ("city driving"), and I bet Ford could sell a bunch of "upgrade packages" to current owners at a good profit. Heck they could include a current GPS disc and make a couple more bucks.

Quite honestly I expected such advised update/upgrades when I bought this Hybrid vehicle, and I've talked with others who expected that sort of thing.
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Re: Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

Postby FRENCHY - October 15th, 2011, 10:27 am

Thanks for the video Mantruck101 :thumb: :thumb:

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Re: Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

Postby Billyk - October 15th, 2011, 1:34 pm

hcbflash wrote:I feel that Ford is not very agressive in pursuing the EV/HEV market, certainly not by consumer electronics standards. (Sounds like the 70s or 80s). Battery technology since 2000, even 2005, has been making leaps and bounds, but Ford has made no battery upgrades available. An upgraded battery pack along with software/firmware based control upgrades could probably get us another 10 MPG ("city driving"), and I bet Ford could sell a bunch of "upgrade packages" to current owners at a good profit. Heck they could include a current GPS disc and make a couple more bucks.

Quite honestly I expected such advised update/upgrades when I bought this Hybrid vehicle, and I've talked with others who expected that sort of thing.


Ford had a license agreement with Sanyo in regards to the Escape hybrid battery pack. We don't have this "agreement" in front of us and do not know the exact details in regards to software modifications-upgraded hardware and etc. Sanyo's is indirectly tied to Toyota due to "new ownership". FYI, Ford is now designing and constructing the hybrid battery packs for the 2013 and newer vehicles in house. They have been field testing new hybrid battery pack designs including the lithium-ion design since September 2007. The drop in upgrade feature you desire from Ford would also have to include a software modification and that is where the issue is. Since you are out of the warranty range, go talk with various vendors about what you want done and report back to us.

If you don't know anyone doing this type of modification try:
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Steve Woodruff out of PHEV Prius. Search the net for further details.
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Re: Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

Postby hcbflash - October 17th, 2011, 2:36 am

yes, mantruck101, thanks so much for that video! It is very, very interesting and informative. I hope we can somehow keep it accessible through this site for a long, long time.

billyK, you've hit the nail on the head regarding the primary hurdles to altering/upgrading any battery in vehicles like this; "programming". I would expect a change to any Li battery to be quite complex, as their charge, discharge, heating, cell impedance, cell failure mode, voltage, life expectancy, storage, operating temperature, and packaging characteristics are much different than any existing NiMH or NiCd battery. An updated NiMH cell change could be made to existing NiMH packs relatively simply if not for the battery charge / discharge / idle program. No benefits could be realized from any other cell type without a control program specifically tuned to take best advantage of those specific cell characteristics.

If the vehicle were in effect controlled by an industrial PLC, I'd tear into the project right now, but auto makers chose from the onset of their use of microprocessor based controls to decentralize controls, and go as proprietary as possible with any and all components. I hate the proprietary bit at some levels, but can accept it if "manufacturers" options and upgrades are available. I'm an auto consumer created by automakers; I want options. I'd like to be able to choose my battery characteristic. I'm also unwilling to treat a car like the cell phone makers are forcing us to treat their products: if the battery's getting lame it's time for a whole new phone or car.

Why not offer different hybrid options? A hilly option, a hot weather option, a snowy climate option, a big city or taxicab option, a long-life option, a heavy mileage option, and of course the big-bucks PHEV option. I think that the market is mature enough to support it now, and I don't feel it was 5 years ago. I do feel that the battery pack form factor, package, system electrical characteristics, as well as ventilation requirements and connections on the 2008 Escape HEV battery are suitable for a variety of other Ford and non-Ford vehicles. I've got a feeling though that HEV batteries will be like cell phones though, and we'll all just shrug our shoulders and go along with it.
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Re: Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

Postby mountainman - October 27th, 2011, 6:05 pm

@billyk
"There are 3rd party vendors that can convert your "normal" Escape Hybrid into a "plug in version" but the costs are quite steep at $30,000+. Some of these vendors-such as Hybrids Plus out of Boulder, Colorado-no longer exist due to various reasons."

I beg to differ.

I own a 2011 FEH. Added Enginer 4kwh battery system in January. Cost was $4,000. With state rebates, net cost is $600. 10,000 miles later I am averaging 41mpg (AWD driven in all conditions including 4 wheeling in Colorado). Because I get a 25% boost in mpg, my ROI is about 1.5 years. By the way, Boulder Hybrid Conversions is in business in Boulder and installs both Enginer and Hymotion systems. Cost for Hymotion system is now in the $10,000 range and Enginer system is as I mentioned. Feel free to ask any other questions from a real user.

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Re: Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

Postby Billyk - October 27th, 2011, 8:55 pm

mountainman wrote:@billyk
"There are 3rd party vendors that can convert your "normal" Escape Hybrid into a "plug in version" but the costs are quite steep at $30,000+. Some of these vendors-such as Hybrids Plus out of Boulder, Colorado-no longer exist due to various reasons."

I beg to differ.

I own a 2011 FEH. Added Enginer 4kwh battery system in January. Cost was $4,000. With state rebates, net cost is $600. 10,000 miles later I am averaging 41mpg (AWD driven in all conditions including 4 wheeling in Colorado). Because I get a 25% boost in mpg, my ROI is about 1.5 years. By the way, Boulder Hybrid Conversions is in business in Boulder and installs both Enginer and Hymotion systems. Cost for Hymotion system is now in the $10,000 range and Enginer system is as I mentioned. Feel free to ask any other questions from a real user.

mountainman


Always nice to hear from one that is pushing the limits. Boulder Hybrid Conversion has been in business in that location for 13 months. Boulder, Colorado was previously served by Hybrid-Plus conversion and this is where I obtained my information and a first hand report in 2008. Hybrid-Plus went out of business after one of its Prius conversions caught on fire. One can search the internet to find a report on this.
Now for some thoughts on your post:
1. My state (Pa) and most of the states in the USA do NOT have tax credit ((85%) for plug-in automobile conversions as Colorado does.
2. You may average 41 MPG but.......the readers need to know his Enginer battery is limited in range--will let the poster state his range--and then the FEH will return to its usual MPG that users report once this extra battery range is depleted.
3. One the battery is depleted, the vehicle itself can not recharge a portion of it thru regenerative braking or the two generators found in the engine compartment. The Enginer battery must be connected to an electrical outlet.
4. The Return of Invesiment will vary from owner to owner depending upon their driving conditoins and skills. Does this figure include the cost of electricity to power or rehcarge the battery? How long does it take to recharge this?
5. This battery sits on teh floor of the cargo area. Problemsome for some owners, no issues for others.
6. My signature on this forum states my next care will be a PHEV.
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Re: Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

Postby mountainman - October 28th, 2011, 1:54 pm

Okay....
My point was to point out that your information was incorrect. Thanks for acknowledging that your information was from 2008.

Regarding your points, you can elect to tear down the cost/effectiveness/justification for adding batteries to the FEH all you want. It works for me. I was driving an SUV that got 17mpg before I bought my FEH. Without the enginer system, I got 32.6mpg. With the enginer system (for the past 10,000 miles) I average 40.5mpg driving an average of 40miles/day. A fully depleted battery (4kwh) takes 5 hours to recharge. There is no regenerative charging for the add-on (only for the HV built into the FEH). I have built a wood cover for my battery system which I have posted on another forum. It works well for me. Since I have enought solar panels on my roof to be net zero for the year, none of my electricity is coming from coal or other non-renewables. The "cost" of the electricity is 10 cents/kwh here in Colorado (more or less) so I "fill" my FEH with 40 cents/day to use 1/4 gallon less fuel.

There are hypermilers here and elsewhere that will claim better gas mileage than I with a stock FEH. I say good for them. But they are not driving what I drive. I've taken my FEH off-road (most recently South Colony Lakes trailhead, one of the worst roads in America) and driven highway miles without regards to "padding my stats". My only reason to post was to correct your misstatement and to say that there are people who have converted their FEH to a PHEV and are happy as a clam to have done it.

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Re: Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

Postby Billyk - October 29th, 2011, 12:39 pm

It is good to read this news from someone that lives in a real world and isn't padding the mileage (mpgs) by pre-selecting driving conditions---I will not drive the Escape Hybrid today because it is too hot to use without the air conditioning running and that would decrease my mileage mpgs numbers/I'm going to drive the beach roads back home as I can drive between 25-40 mph and maximize my mpg figures--

I would like to convert to PHEV but without giving up the cargo space. I use the back cargo area in a variety of different ways and the current system just isin't going to work for me. I keep wondering why they can't do a wide and thin ceiling mount?
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Re: Hybrid Taxi Teardown after 230K

Postby Billyk - November 2nd, 2011, 9:28 pm

I finally found the photo I was looking for:
Image

This is add on Enginer battery referred to in this post. If this could be redesigned so it doesn't take up so much cargo floor space, I would have an interest and likely obtain one/place an order next July.
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