Kit To Turn Gas Engine Into Hybrid To Be Released This Year

Every once in a while, I run across something that makes me think, geeze, maybe we will be able to get out of this mess. This is really wonderful news, and I'd love to see a government subsidy (a la Cash for Clunkers) to help people retrofit their vehicles:

Soon you will be able to purchase a self-installed after-market kit that will turn your gas guzzling car or truck into a sleek, green, hybrid, adding about 10 miles per gallon on average. The concept is being worked on by at least two different people: Charles Perry, a former IBM engineer and current professor at Middle Tennessee State University, and XL Hybrids, a company founded by a group of MIT alumni, reports Yahoo! News.

The technology to convert any gas powered car or truck into a hybrid has been in the works for a few years, but the technology is closer to becoming a reality, with XL Hybrids set to roll out its after-market hybrid kits in select markets this year, with a full launch in 2013, according to Smart Planet. Justin Ashton, XL’s vice president of business development, stated that: “The few OEM hybrids that are available are extremely expensive, and there’s no payback on investment.”

With XL’s hybrid kit, however, customers will achieve payback in as little as three years. The after-market kit contains an electric motor, lithium ion battery pack, and control software for the vehicle. The company’s target price is under $8,000 with the kit fully installed. Ashton assured that the kit, installed by after-market installers, does not void commercial vehicle warranties.

While XL’s target price is under $8,000, Perry’s design will hopefully cost less than $3,000. Perry’s kit attaches to the rear wheels of almost any car or truck, and it is powered by a lithium ion battery placed in the trunk. While not everyone may understand how to install it themselves, Perry asserts that if the consumer knows how to change their brakes, they can install the kit.

And since the Obama administration recently announced new fuel efficiency standards of 54.5 mpg by 2025, it makes it even more likely that this technology will spread in order to meet the new goals.


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