Rybak picks up new plug-in Prius

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak boosted a small Kingfield company Thursday as a customer for ReGo’s hybrid vehicle conversion technology, which allows cars, primarily the Toyota Prius, to be plugged in to use more battery power and less gas.

ReGo co-founder Shayna Berkowitz described the new technology as “helping hybrid owners take the next step to an even more sustainable driving.”

Fellow co-founder Alex Danovitch explained the technology basically adds a larger battery to existing hybrid vehicles, which increases the electric drive ten-fold. He stressed that the vehicles will still perform the same for owners. “There’s no limitations after you’ve done the conversion,” he said. With this plug-in, a Prius can average 85 miles per gallon, he said.

“It’s a huge change, and you know what? It’s so simple,” Rybak said to the crowd gathered in ReGo’s lot, packed with hybrids.

The conversion costs just under $5,000, compared to $10,000 the last time Rybak coverted his previous Prius with a similar process. That older Prius will be shuffled into the city’s fleet.

Berkowitz said she and Danovitch are compiling a list of other hybrids that need the plug-in conversion technology. ReGo hopes to eventually convert any vehicle to hybrid or full electric power.

Rybak christened his new red Prius with rides around the block. His first major use of the car was Thursday afternoon, during a drive to Winona for a state mayors’ meeting, he said.

ReGo is located in the Mulroy’s Body Shop at 3920 Nicollet Ave. S. For more information, go to regoelectric.com.