After five years of research, students at the University of Middle Tennessee have installed a full plug-in hybrid kit in a stock 1994 Honda Accord. The setup gives between 50 and 100 percent better gas mileage with two electric motors delivering power directly to the rear wheels, leaving the engine-powered front wheels to work with little effort. The price of all the parts comes to about $3,000 and can be applied to almost any car.
Energy for the motors comes from a lithium ion phosphate battery that sits in the trunk. The battery in the research vehicle is big and ugly so it can easily transmit data, but the production version will be about “the size of a carry-on bag,” said head researcher Professor Charles Perry.
The twin three-phase DC brushless motors sit in the empty interior around the rear brakes. They power the wheels directly, rather than going through the drive shaft like other hybrids. Each motor produces 200 pound-feet of torque. The setup has four patents pending, all of which will be owned by the university to fund future research.
If this idea takes off it could revolutionize the Hybrid market. If any car can become a hybrid only for $3K auto makers could put it as an extra when your buying a car or you could go to a mechanic and add it to your car at any time.
Heck, I believe that's more than the stock F20B engine that sits under the hood! I'm just wondering if the motors switch to generators to recover some energy during braking cycles.
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WoW looks like a great idea. Nice and simple and cheap. If the auto manufacturers used this sort of thing hybrids would not cost such a bleeding fortune and might be more attratctive to the average driver...plus a big manufacturer 'should' be able to make the system cheaper. Just think...........if you could buy a 2012 Cobalt, Focus, Civic etc with a $2500-$3000 option that would double your gas mileage and the only penalty would be a couple of cubic ft of trunk space...............I'd buy one.
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Hmm... wonder about safety though. You're turning a 2WD car in a 4WD car (which generally should improve handling, but you might end up cutting some corner of a handling envelope in some situations...). I'd also make damn sure that both motors will always be perfectly in sync.
Otherwise the idea is pretty brilliant. Especially if the motors can turn brake energy into stored energy.