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I'm on the Board of Directors of our local electric Coop, Salem electric here in Oregon. This past January they used a grant from the Cooperative Research Network to have one of their two Ford Escape Hybirds converted to a plug-in hybrid. After a couple of months of working out a problem with the charger, the Escape was put into daily use by one of the coops customer service reps. It's driven daily around the city of Salem. The driver reports that he used to fill up that same Escape 2 to 3 times a week. After his first week of actual use he reports that the gas gauge has hardly moved off of full and he has yet to have to fill up the gas tank. It takes about 12KW to fully charge the lithium battery pack. The Ford is getting about 150 MPG in daily service around town, and on the long trip from Colorado where it was converted, back to Oregon, the escape averaged over 50MPG on the freeway. Previous mileage for this same Ford was about 32MPG as an off-the-self hybrid.

Conclusion, even with a parallel hybrid like the Ford, and with the aerodynamics of a shoe box, this conversion has been a resounding success. I can only imagine what GM will be able to achieve with their second generation systems designed from scratch.
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