lunes, 18 de octubre de 2010

Kit Engineer FAQ-Frecuently Asked Questions

Muy buenas,

A continuación os incluyo la transcripción literal de las preguntas frecuentes acerca del kit engineer para el Prius que tanto revuelo está causando. De momento está en inglés. Dadme un rato para ir traduciendolo.

Saludos,

Luis
Zevna

About Enginer PHEV

  1. What is the difference between Enginer PHEV conversion kit and other like products?
    To control cost of production, Enginer does not pursue maximum EV in its PHEV kits. If you travel 20 + miles daily, the result is the same whether you use the battery power at the beginning under an all-EV scenario or release it in a controlled manner over a longer period and at higher speeds.

    The kit does not pursue a high SOC (80%) on the Prius’ OEM NiMH battery but instead injects additional electric energy into the OEM battery pack in a controlled manner. Forcing the Prius into a continuous pure EV mode may not be good for the OEM NiMH battery or motor(s) longevity.

    The Enginer System does not “spoof” the Prius into thinking it has more battery power, it simply replaces the energy consumed by the NiMH pack from the kits Li-ion auxiliary battery pack.

    In practice, the kit continuously charges the stock battery to higher SOC leveraging the ability of the system to improve fuel economy at higher speeds well above the Prius’ stock EV mode threshold.
  2. Can I use the kit for other hybrids?
    Positive! Enginer PHEV is programmable and reconfigurable for any hybrid vehicle by adjusting output voltage and current settings. However, the battery box may be different in size to fit into donor vehicles.
  3. Does the kit adjust the voltage as the temperature fluctuates?
    Yes. There is temperature compensation for summer and winter conditions.
  4. Does the Enginer PHEV come with all the necessary instructions? Will it work in EV mode only up to 34mph, or will it go up to 50mph? When the gasoline engine is on, will it behave like a regular hybrid, or will the gas mileage still improve (ie. even when the gas engine is running)?
    As stated in its User Manuals, Enginer does not pursue maximum EV only driving but instead simplifies the design and installation to preserve the OEM control algorithm for emission control and prolong battery life.

    The PHEV Auxiliary Lithium-Ion batteries charge the stock OEM battery so that ICE does not need to. The PHEV Auxiliary batteries assist so that ICE does not have to “work too hard”. Fuel economy is therefore improved significantly.
  5. Can you provide full install instructions so I can get an estimate from a local mechanic on how much it would cost to install?
    Installation Instructions are available here on Enginer website. It is very straight-forward once you gain access to the battery module. Only two high voltage wires and three low voltage wires (ignition, ground and EV mode) need to be connected with the OEM battery system. It usually takes an Enginer's registered installer 1 to 2 hours to install the whole system or your local mechanic may be able to do the same if he is familiar with Prius' high voltage pack layout.
  6. How does the low-speed EV mode work? Most use the integrated Prius functionality, which frequently locks you out and automatically exits when needed. The plug-in power PHEV uses a different system that forces EV and goes up to 52MPH.
    Although it does connect the EV mode switch, Enginer PHEV does not go after maximizing pure EV drive. Enginer’s control strategy is to release energy in a well-controlled manner to prolong battery life, enhance safety and minimize impact on the existing system. The eventual MPG over longer range (20 miles) is the same as other methods, while the equipment cost is cut down to only 1/4 to 1/3.
  7. How many amps does the charger pull (my garage has a small breaker)?
    Approximately 7 Amps @120VAC
  8. How does the modified hybrid mode work? Does the Enginer lithium pack power the motor directly, or does it charge the traction battery?
    Yes and Yes. Enginer PHEV supplements battery electric power when the electric motor is used and charges the battery to a higher SoC when it is not.
  9. Are the electronics in the Prius 'fooled' into thinking that the battery is more charged than it is (resulting in more electric power being used)?
    No. The OEM NiMH battery has more power because the Enginer system continuously charges it to a higher SoC.
  10. Can you recommend an installer?
    A list of installers can be found at the following: Enginer – PHEV Conversion – Registered Installers. Contact us if you are interested in joining Enginer and become a registered installer, and you have the required skills, experience and resource.
  11. Do I keep my spare tire? If so, how accessible is it after the install?
    Yes. If you release the 4-6 mounting screws with a handle, you can lift the pack enclosure up and stand it on its side allowing access to your spare tire. It is not harder than changing a spare tire.
  12. Would the Enginer PHEV kit damage my hybrid?
    The Enginer PHEV conversion kit would not harm your hybrid since it only connects to the OEM NiMH battery’s output in parallel. The stock HV controller maintains the SoC of the original battery but uses more electricity with SoC nearing 80% SOC. Enginer’s PHEV kit would not force EV mode by spoofing CAN messages like some other products. It also contains both voltage and current limiter to ensure OEM NiMH battery not to be over charged.
  13. Would Enginer PHEV auxiliary Lithium-Ion battery cause a fire?
    Enginer uses the latest and safest Lithium Phosphate batteries with low cell voltages (3.2V). Additionally, very low internal resistance results in very little heat build-up. The Enginer PHEV kit limits current output to further reduce heat build up and prolong battery life. The pack is only warm to the touch while under load, and its Lithium-Ion battery chemistry is designed in such a way that there is no chance for thermal-run-away like other Lithium chemistries (Cobalt oxide, Manganese Oxide). Therefore firing would not possibly happen in a properly installed and used Enginer PHEV system itself.

    However, a fire might still occur if the system was improperly wired or a connection in it is loose. Therefore, each Enginer PHEV kit contains an automatic fire extinguisher for absolute safety sake.
  14. How is this kit comparing to Calcars' design?
    Enginer PHEV kit is a simplified and improved system vs. Calcars' in the way it is connected and releases energy. Enginer’s battery pack does not directly connect to OEM NiMH pack directly. It effectively controls the release of energy to the inverter and OEM NiMH battery with a customized isolated DC/DC converter. When vehicle is booted up, it charges and assists the stock battery during driving. Although it does not have the 100 MPG capability as Calcars' does over short ranges and at slower speeds, the Enginer kit is however equivalent to Calcars' in efficiency at higher speeds over 20 miles (2KWH) / 40 miles (4KWH),. Its well-controlled release of energy (constant output current of ~10A and set max voltage range 320V for Prius-I, 240V for both Prius-II and III) results in lower power requirements for all components, which brings about dramatic price cut, and longer battery life.

    Enginer PHEV kit eliminates the need for CAN View or other control circuit boards so that the same design can be ported to other hybrid vehicles such as Ford Escape, Fusion or Honda Insight.
  15. Is there an interlock to prevent the car from being started while the car is plugged in?
    No. It is not really necessary since it has an isolated DC/DC converter. You can even use a roof top solar panel to charge the battery while it is running.

    It is recommended that you drape the charging cord over the driver’s side mirror to prevent an inadvertent drive-off with the cord still plugged in.
  16. Is the 5,000W DC-DC converter significantly underpowered to support extended EV mode?
    The Enginer kit makes compromises between cost and short range EV performance. This design still relies on the ICE for higher speeds and harder acceleration, which is what the ICE was designed for. However, 5,000W is adequate for cruise at speeds under 35 MPH on flat ground. This significantly reduces the kit’s manufacturering cost and lowers discharge current to prolong battery life.
  17. How should I order an Enginer PHEV conversion kit?
    You can order directly through Enginer’s website, Ebay store or for higher volume order, use the Contact Us form.
  18. How long do the Enginer batteries last?
    Lithium-ion batteries are rated for 2,000 cycles when using 80% of the packs total capacity and 3,000 cycles using just 70%, with Enginer's battery management system. If you properly charge them daily, they will normally be used for six to eight years.
  19. What is the warranty?
    Battery suppliers provide a two-year warranty for batteries and Enginer provides a two year limited warranty on the kit. Californian buyers are subject to an extra $1,000 cost due to extended warranty for 5 years and certification, for CARB compliant.
  20. Will the kit void my original vehicle warranty?
    The Magneson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits Toyota from voiding your warranty unless they can show that the PHEV conversion damaged your car. It is highly unlikely that Enginer kit would affect the original design of the vehicle because the interface is simple and far less intrusive than other PHEV technologies.
  21. Is Enginer PHEV qualified for any tax credit?
    The aftermarket Enginer PHEV conversion is qualified for 10% federal tax credit.

    Enginer is working with major automakers to pre-install the kit to be qualified for $2,500 federal tax credit under the Recovery Act.

    Additionally, some individual states provide tax credits for PHEV conversions. For example, State of Colorado provides state tax credit to cover 85% of the conversion cost, up to $6000.
  22. What would happen if PHEV batteries run out?
    The converter would shut down the system's output and your car would then return to its normal non-PHEV mode.
  23. How do I recharge the battery system?
    You can plug in the included charger into any standard 110 volt, 7 amp AC outlet with a 3 wire, 14 gauge extension cord. The conversion kit includes a charge inlet receptacle for mounting on rear bumper or the opposite side of the fuel refill cap.
  24. Where can I get more information on PHEV conversion?
    Lithium Ion Batteries
    http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-5A.htm
    Prius Plugin Conversion
    http://www.eaa-phev.org/wiki/Prius_PHEV
    California Cars
    http://www.calcars.org/
    BMS
    http://www.mpoweruk.com/bms.htm
  25. Will I get 100 MPG once I install an Enginer Kit?
    100 MPG performance is Enginer's eventual goal, but PHEV effectiveness is never a simple calculation. There are many factors affecting fuel efficiency including temperature, terrain, driving speeds and charge frequency. Enginer therefore made trade offs, when designing the product, between short range fuel efficiency and total ownership costs. As a result, with Enginer PHEV you should be able to achieve 40% to 100% fuel efficiency improvement. You can get higher MPG if you charge it more frequently (charging not only at home, but also at work) or drive exclusively at low speeds, eg. in the city.
  26. How do I know if my cells are balanced?
    The Enginer kit includes Battery Management System. By pressing Start button, individual cell voltages will show in order. Well-balanced cells are within 0.05 V difference. If cell voltage ranges are to wide (>0.1V), you should recharge them and let them sit for half day before checking them again. You can still drive your car even your Enginer PHEV system batteries are not perfectly balanced but please note that any single battery cell should not be drained to below 3.0 V. You should turn the Enginer PHEV system off if a balancer alerts by beeping.
  27. How do I get higher MPG with Enginer kit?
    Here are a few techniques to take full advantage of Enginer PHEV Conversion kit.

    1. Use ICE to accelerate to a desired speed, release the pedal and re-engage to drive the car on EV only. Your Enginer kit can usually maintain cruise under 35 MPH. You can use the same technique on highway at slightly decelerating speed.

    2. Keep you A/C in Auto if you need it. Turn the A/C off and open your window for cooling.

    3. Accelerate and brake your car as gently as possible.

    4. Turn the kit off a mile or two before you begin a long descent.
  28. After installing the Enginer system, the battery indicator shows seven green bar. Why don't I see significant fuel efficiency improvement?
    The original Prius was not particularly designed to be a plugin hybrid, so its electricity use is far not optimized. In order to take advantage of the extra electric power in the Enginer plugin kit, you need to slightly adjust your driving style. For instance, once your car is warmed up and at a steady speed under 40 MPH, you can release the pedal and re-engage it again softly to maintain that speed. Prius will turn off gasoline engine and use electric motor alone. This requires a short-time practice but is not difficult at all.
  29. Enginer PHEV system sits on top of my spare tire. Does it have a spring facility helping me to move the kit up for the spare access?
    Unfortunately, not yet due to cost saving consideration. You can however easily remove four screws, lift up the kit and gain access to the spare tire when necessary—usually once a year or two years or even a few years if your car is regularly and properly serviced.
  30. Does the kit include a smart charger or one that automatically lowers the current when it's getting close to full and shuts off by itself?
    Yes. It is a smart charger specifically designed for these particular Lithium-ion batteries.

4 comentarios:

Javitronz dijo...

Mola!, cuando tenga un rato le doy un ojo...

A ver si alguien se anima a montarse uno y nos cuenta su experiencia!! :P

ZEVNA dijo...

Pues lo voy a montar yo en un Prius que estoy buscando, para proceder a homologar. Y a partir de ahí, esto es casi tan sencillo como montar un radiocassete (he dicho CASI, ¿eh? jejeje...)

Saludos,
Luis

Javitronz dijo...

guau, espero ansioso el post de la experiencia!

Por cierto, si homolgas la conversión, tendrías los mismos beneficios que un EV? (zona azul gratis en pamplona, o alguna ayuda económica...)

Un saludo!

ZEVNA dijo...

Me temo que no. En contrapartida, es mucho mas barato que una conversión y tienes la ¿ventaja? de mantener el motor térmico para "porsiacaso"

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