ZAP To Offer Plug-In Conversions

ZAP, the California-based electric car maker, is teaming up with Colorado-based Hybrids Plus to offer plug-in conversion systems for the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid. Converting these vehicles to plug-in hybrids can increase fuel economy by up to three times compared to hybrids right off dealer lots. Road tests have yielded results as high as 120 miles per gallon for city driving, and 90 miles per gallon on the highway. But the technology is expensive. The cost to convert these hybrids ranges from $24,000 to $36,000.

The announcement about the partnership between ZAP and Hybrids Plus comes at the earliest stage of development of their plug-in conversion program. The logistics—including which dealers in ZAP’s network of approximately 50 dealerships will participate, where the conversions will take place, and how long the conversion will take—have not been determined.

“This collaboration allows more hybrid owners to have the most efficient vehicles on the road today,” said ZAP CEO Steve Schneider. “ZAP dealers are preparing to offer a new level of service in the coming years involving mass-market hybrid and electric cars.”

Hybrids Plus is one of a growing list of companies offering plug-in conversion services. ZAP is a well-established brand for neighborhood electric vehicles, as well as electric bikes and scooters. Under the agreement, plug-in hybrid conversion systems offered by Hybrids Plus will gain sales and service benefits through ZAP’s dealers, which will receive training and other support to integrate plug-in conversions into their offerings. ZAP’s established track record includes the delivery of more than 100,000 electric vehicles in 75 countries since 1994.

Hybrids Plus is currently looking to add the Toyota Highlander Hybrid to the list of vehicles that can be converted.

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  • TSBinLV

    I want one of these so bad for my Escape, but I just can’t understand why a battery and a plug costs $36K. I assume that most of that cost is to cover the battery, but are those batteries really that expensive?

    Here’s something else I don’t understand. Just a few years ago GM offered the EV1 and it worked and I don’t think it cost that much. Can’t somebody just offer another EV1??? They did it before!!! Geeeeeesh…..

  • Hal Howell

    The EV1 was expensive that’s why it was leased and not sold. Yes, it really is that expensive. Mass production is what’s needed to bring down the costs. Back fitting is always going to be expensive. The only way to bring down the cost is to build it that way to begin with. However, in time it may come down as the market grows.
    I plan on just getting what I can out of my 07 Prius and go for a Volt of other plug-in next go around. I’ve come to the conclusion that a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle is going to be the future since hydrogen nice as it may seem is not going to be a reality anytime soon or even in the near distant future. Its too expensive and the infrastructure is just not going to be there anytime in the foreseeable future. Plug-in technology is very nearly ready for prime time and just in time as gas costs are going up. Its a good time to be driving a Hybrid.

  • Bill

    How about instead of “Plug-in Hybrids” we switch to modular battery packs and all electric cars. When your charge runs low you pull into a service station and swap battery packs and pay for the service and you are on your way again in less than 5 minutes?

  • BOB192

    The subject of swappable battery packs has come up before. To hold sufficient energy for a practical driving range, they would be pretty heavy and the connectors etc would have to conduct a lot of current and hold up to frequent disconnects. Not that simple actually. due to their high monetary value they would need to be handled carefully. Like swapping your shiny new propane tank for a beat up rusty one at the neighborhood convenience store only the tank cost $15000

  • MR

    Or we could just use browns gas/oxyhydrogen to run vehicles. This way we’re not robbing oxygen from our environment and we’re actually spitting it into the air instead of CO2. The power of electrolysis is better than the hydrogen fuel cell and electric cars. How many republicans out there are willing to stop “Clean Coal?”

  • Scorch

    Who in their right mind will pay such an insane amount? $24k-$36k to convert a hybrid to a plug-in? They must be planning on selling them to the US government. They pay $500 for toilet seats and hammers.

  • Dube Soak

    MR, what does the removal of unwanted hair have to do with finding viable alternatives to ICE? I agree, something must be done to reduce the facial hair of our beloved middle-eastern and mediterranean women, but this site is not an appropriate forum.

  • clement


    i was wondering what will we do with all these batteries then