From The Archives: Velma, Our Old 2005 Toyota Prius Plug-in Conversion

I’m often asked by people how I got into covering cleaner, greener, smarter and safer cars — and what kind of cars I’ve owned over the years.

Sadly, I’ve not got videos from all of them, but in a world before Transport Evolved, I did make the occasional video talking about my collection and test-driving certain green cars as they came to market.

So today, I thought it would be fun to share the story of Velma, my 2005 Toyota Prius which was converted to a plug-in hybrid (using quite the Heath Robinson design) back in 2008. Owned between my first plug-in car (a 1998 City El) and my third plug-in car (a 1986 Volkswagen City Stromer EV) Velma was my daily driver until thermal runaway caused her battery packs to become… dead.

This film was made shortly before that event occurred. The thermal runaway was completely my fault too: I thought given the UK’s temperate climate, that NiMH batteries didn’t need thermal management. As an owner of a 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV, today I understand how wrong I was…

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