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Hybrid Rocket

Make a downright mean sportscar. Profit!
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Hybrids may or may not be the wave of the future, but the average joe doesn't really care. (I care, and YOU might care, but you just don't see many people in the things) Anyway, it occurs to me that a big part of the reason that they are not very sporty. There's a "wimp" factor to anything with an engine that small, except for maybe a go-kart. The trick to getting hybrids accepted, even desired, might be to make a very, very impressive hybrid car. It shouldn't be that hard. Normally hybrids center their existance on fuel efficency- they try to use as little of the engine as they can, just kind of sipping on their battery. You don't really notice the engine. What I propose is a sportscar with a normal sized engine, a V-6 or a V-8, linked to an efficent generator and a very powerful capacitator. Rather than "sipping" the engine, the engine runs all the time at a high RPM, charging the capacitator if it's not driving the car. The car runs off of the capacitator, maintaining its charge when at full speed by use of the engine. Nothing remarkable there. It should be pretty much the same as a normal car. But when it comes time to race, things get interesting! Rather than pumping the gas and dropping the clutch as so many people are fond of doing on the drag race circuit, our car charges it's capacitator to full while sitting there, and then shoots the whole wad at one go off of the line. This delivers -tremendous- horsepower for a few seconds. Hopefully, the result is an exotic car that puts boring old cars to shame. And THAT shows the public that rather than a "weak" or "tree-hugging environmentalist" technology, hybrid cars have the potential to be just plain better than plain ones.
Madcat, Oct 06 2003

National Electric Drag Racing Association http://www.nedra.com/about_nedra.html
See the electric Maniac Mazda doing a wheel stand. Leapin' 'lectric vehicles! [baconbrain, Aug 03 2005]

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       ummmmmmmmmm   

         

       ummmmmmmmmm
dickity, Oct 06 2003
  

       Ummm what? Well?
Madcat, Oct 06 2003
  

       It's well established that electric motors have nigh infinite torque. An electric vehicle can go from 0 to 100 in a fairly short distance. The problem is that people can't.   

       What difference does it make if the power comes from a battery or a capacitor? Why do you need a large engine to keep it/them charged?
phoenix, Oct 07 2003
  

       Batteries are too heavy. And they are not very efficient.
Madcat, Oct 08 2003
  

       I fully expect that when(/if?) hybrids become more mainstream, there will be those that modify them (eg, with capacitor banks and additional motors on rear wheels) to become 1/4 mile racers. Give it a couple of years.   

       Actually I was hoping this would literally be a rocket-electric hybrid - ie, a rocket engine + electric motor + batteries (+ probably a fuel cell to allow charging without moving).
benjamin, Aug 01 2004
  

       Honda is pushing their new Accord Hybrid as the top-of-the-line, big power model. It gets decent mileage, shuts down one bank of cyls at cruise, and goes like a scalded cat at stoplights when the electric motor provides low-end grunt.
elhigh, Aug 02 2005
  

       Google 'electric dragster'. Find the National Electric Drag Racing Association.   

       "John Wayland breaks 100 mph with his street legal Datsun 1200. John has become the first NEDRA member to race a street legal electric powered car to over 100 mph in the quarter mile, clocking in at 100.76 mph with an ET of 13.004 seconds. And at the same time beating a 375 HP V-8 Camaro in the next lane."   

       None of the electric dragster guys seem to be using capacitors, but you may be onto something there. Keeping the engine running at full throttle all the time to keep a capacitor charged is very bad for the engine, and shows you have the wrong size capacitor and a hell of a power leak somewhere.   

       I suggest a capacitor just large enough to boost the car through a quarter mile. Charge it when convenient, at any throttle setting, or maybe from the grid via a cord. Lugging extra capacitor and extra charger is going to slow the car.
baconbrain, Aug 03 2005
  

       Baked. The Accord hybrid was metioned, at ~250 hp. The Lexus hybrid come to mind as well; I think it's ~320 hp. Part of their advertising is that you can drive solo in the carpool lane getting 28 or 30 mpg, while the Beetle TDI can't at 50 mpg. Chev or GMC has hybrid trucks coming out that boost torque for towing with little improvement in efficiency, further broadening hybrid interest.   

       Also, check out the new all-electric roadster by the Tesla Co. 0-60 in ~4 sec, faster than a Ferrari, and a respectable range of 200 miles.
J Vander, Nov 13 2006
  
      
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