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100,000 Miles as a Plug-in

Gas was $2.32 a gallon, a leaf was something on a tree and a volt was a unit of electric force when Alan Shedd began driving a plug-in hybrid.

Much has changed since February 2007—including the odometer on Shedd’s car. It recently passed the 160,000 mile mark, 100,000 miles of which was as a PHEV.

The 2004 Toyota Prius rolled off the assembly line as a conventional hybrid, and Shedd drove it as such for three years while working at Jackson EMC in Jefferson, Ga. In 2007, Energy CS converted it to a PHEV as part of a project by NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network.

“That original conversion lasted 18 months and about 50,000 miles before it failed,” Shedd recalled. Shortly before that happened, Shedd had arranged to buy the car from Jackson.

The car was shipped back to Energy CS, where it sat almost a year while they tried to find a better battery. In the meantime, Shedd went to work for Touchstone Energy®, which committed to backing a replacement battery.

“They saw the value in having the car on the road,” Shedd said.

Shedd and a friend eventually installed a temporary battery, and in 2010 the car got its present battery. The third time was the charm.

“It is really delivering on the promise of what the car should’ve been able to do: 100 miles per gallon for 100 miles,” Shedd said. The range is four times that of the original battery.

In October 2007, Alan Shedd brought his PHEV to Capitol Hill. (ECT File Photo By: Michael W. Kahn)

The car has been to countless co-op meetings and schools, and Shedd drives it on most business trips within a 500-mile radius of his home. He’s been asked umpteen questions, and knows what it’s like to look for a parking spot near a plug so he can save gas and money.

Chevrolet now mass markets its Volt PHEV, and Nissan has its all-electric Leaf, but Shedd is in no rush for a trade-in. He expects to see more choices coming to more showrooms over the next two or three years.


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