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.