XL Hybrids present a retrofit concept to help commercial fleets save money on fuel while meeting sustainability standards. They are founded by a team from MIT and sell kits which transforms a conventional cars into a hybrid model. U.S. fleets will be in pilots during 2011.
It may takes as little as six hours to turn a gasoline car into a XL hybrid car.
The kit includes an electric motor, a lithium-phosphate and an electronic box. The retrofit creates a parallel hybrid with the electric motor mounted on the rear differential (see illustration below) while the battery is located in the trunk. The engine management of the car is reprogrammed via the OBD II connection and a small console is mounted on the dashboard in order to provide a view of the battery charge. Technically, the electric motor recharges the battery during deceleration or braking, and uses the electric power to reduce the use of the gasoline engine during acceleration. It can not provide enough power to move the vehicle alone.
A demo model, a Lincoln Town Car (a large sedan), seems to gain some 20 horsepower and the fuel consumption is claimed to be reduced as much as 30%. XL Hybrids say that the manufacturer’s warranty is maintained after the transformation and highlights low maintenance costs.
With this kit, the U.S. company tries to attract company car fleets by providing fuel savings. Without disclosing the price of equipment, they say that the investment is regained within 24 months. Their goal is to make 10,000 conversions per year, essentially on large sedans and utility vehicles.
Well… if you like your good old car and want to keep it maybe these type of retrofits may be an idea to consider in order to begin to Commute Greener !, right?