Can't get by with public transit systems or a bicycle? Need a car, but would rather have something more economical and ecological like the Toyota Prius? If only you could avoid it! Someone has been eavesdropping on your thoughts and that person is Ulrik Poulsen, a Danish mechanical engineer. Ulrik has created the 'Poulsen Hybrid', which is an aftermarket device you can add to most any compact car so it performs pretty much like a electric/petrol hybrid Prius.
Poulsen's Hybrid Kit will work on any car with 15" wheels or larger, be they front drive, rear drive, and all wheel drive. As they put it the kit's development came about from the observation that "only 10-15 horsepower is required to propel a compact or mid-size automobile along a level road at a steady 60 mph. leading to the conclusion that this relatively small amount of electric power would be able to cope with 70-85% of normal driving, only aided by the combustion engine during start up and when extra energy is required for acceleration and hill climbing."
If you have questions (like; Where do I get one? and How much will it cost me?), then we suggest you keep reading.The company has been advised that until issues of product liability have been resolved, the Poulsen Hybrid will need to be installed by authorised dealers. They are anticipating the costs for this will be about $4,550 USD with lead acid batteries, though if you want the lighter lithium ion battery pack you'll be looking at about $8,600. For these funds you'll have two powerful electric motors mounted externally onto your cars wheels. These connect up to the batteries, which might steal around 20% of your trunk/boot space.
Instrumentation is being worked out so you can get dashboard readings of charge capacity remaining and so forth. Department of Transport approvals are said to be straightforward because the Poulsen Hybrid "does not affect brakes, steering, suspension or any original safety systems."
Jim Motavalli from The Daily Green went to visit the Poulsen factory first hand. He reports that "The motors do not drive the car, but kick in to provide a power boost between 15 and 60 miles per hour [24-97 kph]. Regenerative braking helps keep the batteries charged." Going on to say, If the system works as advertised, a 30-mile-per-gallon [7.8 ltr/100km] car will be raised to 55 mpg [4.3 ltr/100km." Range on electric alone is expected to to be in the order of 25 to 30 miles (42 -48 km). Jim took the above combo pix.
The factory hopes to be pumping out 100 kits a day by mid 2009. Also in 2009 Poulsen is hoping to compete in the Automotive X Prize (AXP), in which commercially available vehicles that can achieve fuel economies of greater than 100 mpg (2.4 ltr/100km), with a 'wells-to-wheels' Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions of less than 200 grams of CO2 per mile.
More Fuel Efficient Cars on TreeHugger
• Volkswagen to Make Limited Edition 282 MPG Car in 2010
• Tesla Developing Gas-Electric Hybrid Version of Whitestar
• Toyota Unveils Plug-in Prius
Top image from Poulsen Hybrid website