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DIY: Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid?

It might not give step-by-step instructions for retrofitting your school bus, but a new book purports to tell readers how they, too, can create their own plug-in hybrid electric vehicle like the like the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid or the 2010 Toyota Prius.

Perhaps those especially savvy readers can even hold onto the hope that they might eventually be eligible for the next round of federal grants for electric battery and hybrid drive train development. Well, OK, probably not, especially as GreenCarReports.com editor John Voelker gives it less than a stellar review of Build Your Own Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

First of all, the book says it can help owners of hybrid vehicles convert them to PHEVs. The author is Seth Leitman, who last year coauthored an updated version of the classic Build Your Own Electric Vehicle. Voelker writes that the book is:

“…comprehensive but slightly disappointing. In part, that’s because book publishing takes way too much time. The field of PHEVs is evolving so fast that you can only find truly up-to-date information online.

In particular, the book’s list of conversion kits, sources, and background is now several months old. That’s a lifetime for a technology whose members exchange information and collaborate to solve technical problems in online forums (eaa-phev is just one of many).”


The commercially-available hybrid diesel school bus currently on the market are from IC Bus, and Thomas Built Buses. IC Bus has both an PHEV and HEV, while Thomas has the latter. If this book review doesn’t detract you, and you’re the competitive entrepreneurial type, the book can be found on Amazon or in bookstores like Barnes & Noble.

UPDATE: A previous post made it sound like Thomas Built Buses was the only manufacturer with a hybrid school bus available to the market. We didn’t mention IC Bus and its own plug-in and regular hybrid-electric models, which has been available the longest, since 2006, and currently has about few hundred in service nationwide. We regret the oversight, a big one.


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