Countless small start-ups and Detroit automakers are trying to revive electric cars from an early grave, although there's a long road ahead before electricity might serve as a "fuel" for the masses.
In the meantime, however, a handful of companies aims to put the power cord in the hands of drivers who want to transform their gas-electric hybrids into plug-in hybrids, or to replace the internal combustion innards of other cars with all-electric systems.
The businesses are touting plug-in hybrid systems that can be driven up to 40 miles on batteries alone, with average fuel economy of 100 miles per gallon. The cars use gasoline once the batteries drain.
It can cost more than $10,000 to install a plug-in hybrid system on a Toyota Prius. Is the limited electric driving range worth the expense?
Absolutely, according to Felix Kramer, founder of CalCars, which counts nearly 200 plug-in hybrid conversions around the country. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based nonprofit in 2004 converted the first Prius with batteries that power up from an electrical outlet. … Read more