• Phew!! A solar powered car is a breath of fresh air.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) gets the tick.
  • There are many cars, but FEW are this green.

Most cars use petrol for fuel but some use sunshine. Petrol is made of old oil whilst sunshine is delivered fresh every day. Does your car get fresh fuel delivered daily?

In July, 2010, Townsville City Council commissioned San Diego-based Plug in Conversion Corporation to convert one of its Toyota Prius fleet vehicles to a Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle  (PHEV).

This was the first PHEV conversion in Queensland, the first PHEV owned by a Local Authority in Australia, and only the fifth using the same technology in Australia.

The conversion allows the vehicle to travel up to 40 km in electric mode.

The vehicle can be charged with solar and wind power, as well as mains power.

This presents the opportunity to run a solar powered electric car.

Solar power enters the PHEV through the BLACK DOT.

Lindsay Stone from Livingstone Automotive Consulting, inspects the converted Prius before the weighbridge.

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Remove the original hybrid traction battery.
Replace with a much larger PICC 6.5kWh NiMH battery. 

The boxes in which the PICC kit arrived.


Replace the existing springs with heavier springs to accommodate the additional weight of the new battery.

Drill a hole in the bumper to accommodate the power supply.
This is the new PICC battery that will be placed in the spare tyre well.

Lift the battery out of the box.
Sean Cochrane from AllSafe Energy Efficient Products and Kim Adelman from PICC place the battery into the back of the car.

Kim Adelman and electrician Daniel Post from Ecolight discuss the conversion technology.
Once the conversion is complete, Kim checks the data system on a laptop computer.

Greg Bruce from Townsville City Council Integrated Sustainability Services plugs the power cord into the converted Prius.
The 'EV Grin' evident as the power is switched on to charge the battery.

The Prius showing her Citisolar and TCC Livery during the conversion.
The converted car is towed to the weighbridge and the drag strip for speed testing. 

The weighbridge to get the weight data to submit to Queensland Transport.
To the Bohle Dragstrip for the speed trials.

At the Bohle Dragstrip the Queensland Police were training motorcycle skills.
Kim Adelman from PICC and Lindsay Stone from Livingstone Automotive Consulting assess the performance of the PHEV.

The new PICC control panel showing options for three driving modes including Toyota Hybrid, True EV and PHEV.
After the speed tests, Andrew Morris from Townsville City Council's Integrated Sustainability Services is instructed in the operation of the PHEV.

The plug that feeds electricity into the PHEV showing the electrical safety tag.
Safety switch installed between the 240 volt input and the new battery. 

Modification of the back seat to reinforce that the vehicle is now designated as a four seater.
The middle seatbelt was removed. The vehicle is now officially a four seater to account for slightly increased weight due to new battery.
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Thanks for showing me the PHEV during the conversion process. I love what I see happening in Sustainsville. After having driven a Tesla EV recently in the USA (which blew my mind so quiet and so responsive) I know that electric is the future of motor vehicle travel. And thus electric charge points at work and at home will soon become as common place as the mobile phone!! I Just hope that we can power all those EV's with Wind and or Solar Power (renewables) and not use coal. Love it - this is the future in the making.

Sean Cochrane
Managing Director
AllSafe Energy Efficient Products
Townsville August, 2010


This project has been a few years in the concieving and all came together very quickly once the stars aligned. The opportunity to work with Kim and Michael from PICC has led me to understand the important niche that PHEVs have, particularly as the PHEV gives the benefits of a EV at short range, yet still has an 800km range. Awesome work Townsville City Council, Integrated Sustainability Services and Property Services and Fleet this project.

Guy Lane
Managing Director
SEA O2 Pty Ltd
Townsville August, 2010

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PHEV road trials>>

Townsville City Council PHEV in speed trials on the Bohle drag strip.

Images below show:

  • The vehicle is travelling at 104 kmh (see circled top, right).
  • The blue light (bottom circle) shows the vehicle was running on PICC electric battery.
  • The monitor (top, left) shows the vehicle decelerating and recharging the battery.


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Official Paperwork

Documents submitted to Queensland Department of Transport to gain approval for the Plug in Hybrid conversion to proceed.
Documents submitted following the conversion.

Zip File 1 - 2.8 Mb

Zip File 2 - 3.2 Mb

Zip File 3 - 3.7 Mb

Zip File 4 - 3.5 Mb






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Download the PICC
PHEV User Manual.

Plug in Conversions Corporation website

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EV World Media on the PICC / TCC PHEV conversion.

Kim Adelman and Michael Dibble - PICC President and Installer.

The Townsville City Council PHEV is the First in Queensland and the First owned by an Australian Local Authority. It is the fifth PICC PHEV in Australia and the 10th PHEV overall.

Other Australian PHEV Projects












Motor Trades Association 1








CSIRO  (see brochure)








Stan Baker




Zen Corp




Country Energy




NSW Env. Dept.




Go Get Car Share


    Click on links above to see webpages of other projects.