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Plug-In Hybrids Aren't Coming, They're Here 495

Wired is running a story about the small but vocal, and growing, number of people who aren't waiting for automakers to deliver plug-in hybrids. They're shelling out big money to have already thrifty cars converted into full-on plug-in hybrids capable of triple-digit fuel economy. "The conversions aren't cheap, and top-of-the-line kits with lithium-ion batteries can set you back as much as $35,000. Even a kit with lead-acid batteries — the type under the hood of the car you drive now — starts at five grand. That explains why most converted plug-ins are in the motor pools of places like Southern California Edison... No more than 150 or so belong to people like [extreme skiing champion Alison] Gannett, who had her $30,000 Ford Escape converted in December. Yes, that's right. The conversion cost more than the truck."

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.