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What is a PIE?

     I define a PIE as a Plug-In Electric car.

     Today, the acronym "EV" is overused. Although "EV" stands for Electric Vehicle, it can be used for any vehicle that is capable of being powered by an electric motor. This can be a toy train, a Bullet Train, or even a moon buggy. And it is added to the common acronyms for all kinds of cars. HEV, PHEV, PEV, or BEV acronyms have been used to describe various "electric" cars.

      However, HEV's (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) run entirely on gasoline and ironically are more efficient when they are using the electric motor. PHEV's (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) still run on gasoline whenever the batteries run down and are really dependent on your driving habits as to how much you run as an EV. And they are clumped together with PEV's (Plug-in Electric Vehicles) and BEV's (Battery Electric Vehicles) which are true EVs.

     A toy boat powered by a tiny electric motor could just as easily be referred to as a BEV. And I am sure the major car companies would like to blur the distinction between a PHEV and a PEV. But when referring to a car, the whole idea of an EV is to conserve energy by using a more efficient electric motor to power a car than to use an internal combustion engine (ICE) to power a car. So why not refer to a totally electric car that plugs in as a PIE, and emphasize the distinction?

      Obviously, there are still some drawbacks to using an acronym that spells the word "pie". But I like the pie that you eat. And most people who like their Plug-In Electric cars like their cars just about as much. So when I refer to a conversion of an ICE car to a PIE car, it is an ICE to PIE conversion where people should like the result as much as a tasty pie.

      Now, statistically, most families have an average of 1.9 cars. If you have more than one car, chances are that one car is better for taking trips and the other is the better commuter. When it comes time to replace the commuter, why not convert it to a PIE?   Since most cars are replaced due to engine difficulties an ICE to PIE conversion makes sense, but only if you like the car and it will be reliable for the next x thousand miles on a new set of batteries.

     1. It will cost less than buying a new equivalent car if your commuter distance is less than 20 miles (most commutes) 

     2. Its operating costs will be cheaper, no oil changes, no engine repairs, and with Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, it will last another 100,000 miles (you best like the car for a long time).

     One last point, if there is no one in your area that has any experience converting an ICE car to a PIE car, then you might explore the possibility of leasing a new EV and see if it fits your needs.  The following information may help you decide.


Class of conversions to PIE at about 100 MPGe:

Class:       Maximum Speed/Range in 1 hour:                   Compare with........................Currently new from manufacturers:

 #             (a PIE must do both to qualify)


  (the first 2 Classes are not replacement material - included for completeness)             (these hybrids are not very efficient)

  1      10 miles in 1 hour (Electric Bicycle or a light Segway)                                            Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

  2      20 miles in 1 hour (a glorified golf cart or scooter)                                                 Ford C-MAX Hybrid,

                                                                                                                                          Toyota Prius Hybrid


  (replace according to your circumstance)

  3      30 miles in 1 hour (a neighborhood vehicle or limited commuter car)                  Chevy Volt. Fisker Karma, and

                                                                                                                                          Cadillac ELR  (unlimited range w/gas)

                                                                                                                                          Toyota Prius C

  4      40 miles in 1 hour (non-limited-access-highway commuter)                                 (Convert a light car and save a lot)    

  5      50 miles in 1 hour (short distances on Interstates during rush hour)                     Mitsubishi i-MiEV

  6      60 miles in 1 hour (a capable commuter car)                                                          Nissan Leaf, Ford Fusion Hybrid

  7      70 miles in 1 hour (comparable to most ICE cars with about 1/3 the range)          Ford Focus, BMW i3


Note: Many of the Hybrids are not listed under "Currently new from manufacturers" as the EV portion is not run long enough separately to be rated.  These use the electric motor to increase the overall efficiency of the combined drive train, and those with regenerative braking, to help recharge the batteries.


ICE to PIE conversions:

  The first step is planning.

  1. Choosing a reliable car that you like...