My girlfriend Cheryl gets all the credit for finding this A123 Hymotion Toyota Prius. Honestly I wasn’t in any mood to go walking around finding things that day. I had no sleep – it was wet and cold – just not fun conditions to go exploring. But I guess after I took a bunch of video of the EV Town event setup she had caught the electric car bug. It was her suggestion to go hunt for electric car charging stations. Our first walk had us heading in the wrong direction. But we did see at least four Normal IL police squad cars show up for some incident we couldn’t figure out. Nothing serious enough to warrant four squad cars seemed to be taking place.
We ended up quickly heading back to the Marriott Hotel where we were staying. One of us then figured out the hotel parking garage was suppose to have charging stations. So we headed to the skywalk. There aren’t any chargers located at skywalk level. You have to take the elevator to the bottom floor to find them. As soon as we got to this location – Cheryl spotted the A123 Hymotion Toyota Prius with Illinois license plate – PLUG IN. It wasn’t plugged in. It was parked in a compact car spot close to 3 electric charging stations.
These I assume are two Eaton Level 2 Charging Stations and a electrical socket which I have no way of knowing the voltage output. Both of these can clearly be seen in the video. At the time no electric cars were being charged. The next day Revenge of the Electric Car Executive Producer Stefano Durdic’s Tesla Roadster has using one of the Eaton connections.
I tried finding who might own the Hymotion Toyota Prius – by doing research online. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to come up with anything. I’m not sure if the owner was attending the EV Town event that night or a local resident. What was really unfortunate is this vehicle was not on display with the others. I tried to alert attendees on Twitter to it’s location. Figured electric car enthusiast would be interested in having a look.
The event space has packed full of electric cars and various related vendors – mostly charging station companies. But it would have been nice to see this car on the display floor to show people what other options exist. This is also another good education tool to represent the evolution of electric vehicles.
Some might consider the A123 Hymotion Toyota Prius obsolete. Toyota now has their own plugin Prius on the market. I think most people agree that this new vehicle falls short in many ways. For years enthusiast have been begging Toyota to produce this car. When they finally did expectations weren’t met and most would agree Toyota didn’t put their best foot forward. Of course this depends on your point of view and what you are wanting out of the car. Toyota’s version falls short on electric range. But you can use all electric at higher speeds. So there is a bit of trade-off there. Where you drive the vehicle the most would determine if a conversion like A123 Hymotion is best for you. If driving a lot of highway miles Toyota’s version would better suit your needs. Keep in mind the A123 Hymotion conversion is designed for Toyota Prius model years 2004 thru 2009 only.
With the release of the Chevy Volt onto the marketplace it could be argued that this is the better plugin electric for your purchasing dollar. No conversion needs to be done and you get better electric range when compared to the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. Others might bring the Fisker Karma into the debate. Personally I don’t think any serious minded gas conserving / eliminating enthusiast would consider this model relevant. Both the Volt and Karma were on display at the EV Town event.
For me I’m just happy that we are at a point that conscience having consumers with money can actually have a debate over which car is right for them. It wasn’t long ago where choices were limited or almost non existent. It could be said that the right choice is any vehicle that uses less or no gas at all.
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