The Instructors of the Vermont Fire Service showed tremendous dedication and motivation during a gloomy Saturday morning class. A special thanks goes out to Kevin O’Brian, of the Burlington VT FD, and Tom McGrath, of the University of Vermont Transportation Research Center (TRC). These two individuals obtained four different vehicles for the students to explore.
Mr. McGrath brought the University of Vermont TRC’s Spark shall I say a converted plug-in Prius. The Spark, which is pictured above, is a 2007 Prius that had a Lithium Ion battery added to convert it into a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Other vehicles included a new Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius, provided by Alderman’s Auto. This class was especially relevant as EV-related work has been a focus of the TRC. The Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, housed at the TRC, is currently part of a ten-state EV planning grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The work aims to streamline procedures and outreach efforts in order to prepare the northeast for mass EV deployment.
This was the first time I had the opportunity to see an aftermarket battery installed along with an AC outlet designed to charge the battery. Upon investigation, the company Hymotion designed the L5 Plug-In conversion module for Prius (2004 – 2009). This battery system has been discontinued as A123 systems, have now put their efforts into the global auto industry.
Chris Pepler, NFPA EV Safety Training Instructor