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cheaper hybrid

a cheaper hybrid car
  (+8, -1)
(+8, -1)
  [vote for,

Hi, this is my first halfbaked idea. I'm not an engineer or anything so its bound to be half baked. My apologies if this has been suggested before.

I live in a 3rd world city so this is optimized for a 3rd world type person who wants to save some money in the long run but cant afford the initial high cost of a hybrid. I'll trade off some energy efficiency for a modest reduction in price and a big reduction in automation. We'll asssume a City location where modest acceleration is acceptable and a modest top speed (maybe 80-100 kph??) is OK. Also, being an asian 3rd world city, we'll assume that there's a lot of stop and go low speed traffic where a hybrid should excel.

My design is simple. Basically, we start with a straight electric car, probably converted from a second hand gasoline car. We'll have to accept an airconditioner because of the pollution and the heat. Next we mount a small scooter/motorcycle motor, preferably with an electric starter, and maybe 3 or 4 salvaged alternators or whatever you call them. If this is a conversion from a gas car, there might be space in the engine compartment for the electric motors, the motorcycle engine and some batteries. Lastly we mount a large meter on the dashboard that says if the battery charge is running low.

Basically it runs on electric drive all the time and the driver manually starts and stops the motorcyle engine if a charge is needed. If we have money left over, maybe we can add regenerative braking, some aerodynamic or weight reduction modifications etc. Well, what do you think?

vmaldia, Jul 23 2006

Friesian http://www.lynnrpho...images/beauty19.jpg
[normzone, Jul 24 2006]

I have found multiple spellings, but believe this one to be correct... http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Friesian_horse
...of course I could be wrong. [normzone, Jul 24 2006]

Friesian COWS you fools... http://www.boreme.c...4/i_friesian-p1.php
[ConsulFlaminicus, Jul 25 2006]


       It would be great if someone would start a factory to do conversions like this. Even without a hybrid system, you're going to get much better fuel economy if you drive the car with a smaller engine.   

       Still, you'll never beat the fuel economy of riding an 80cc or 125cc motorcycle.
jmvw, Jul 23 2006

       The hardest part is probably finding or converting to the electric car. After that, its buns all the way.
James Newton, Jul 23 2006

       More efficient to just use the motorcycle engine and forget the batteries, since you are losing about 30-40% of your energy on the charge / discharge round trip. Given that your engine is only 40% efficient anyway, the battery step seems a very heavy price to pay for a few minutes of silent running, plus you have to use a lot of energy carrying around your batteries all the time.   

       Also, you don't have to accept an airconditioner - much more efficient cooling energy is available from a block of ice. Air-con in cars is just less messy and more convenient than a block of ice.   

       Welcome to the HB - may your ideas flow like milk from a Fresian's teats, and be as sweet.
ConsulFlaminicus, Jul 24 2006

       What [Consul] said first (pay no attention to that 'block of ice' nonsense). I don't understand where the efficiency gain lies in generating electricity from petrol before using the energy. I'm not going to vote against because the Prius and Civic Hybrid already do something similar and I don't understand why that works either.
wagster, Jul 24 2006

       I think the important part of a hybrid is the regenerative braking system. What kind of system can you have that will put gas back in your tank as you decelerate? It means that stop and go traffic isn't nearly the efficiency problem it would be otherwise.   

       In addition to this the gasoline engine in the Toyotas (I'm not as sure of the Honda) always runs at "optimal economy" speeds. It helps maximize the overall efficiency.   

       The system suggested will allow the engine to run at an optimal speed. You'd really want the regenerative braking, though. Also, limiting maximum acceleration and top speed will probably do wonders for your ecomomy right from the start.
NoOneYouKnow, Jul 24 2006

       //I think the important part of a hybrid is the regenerative braking system. //   

       Sorry, NoOne, I always find that the least useful part of a hybrid/electric car. I drive so that I rarely use my brakes, at least when I'm driving for ecomony. Unless the regenerative parts are very light, I don't want to be carrying them around. (But I don't know how regenerative braking is accomplished these days, so I may be all wrong.)   

       I do know that a pure battery car is better than dragging around an engine and generator. Small engines tend to be less efficient and more polluting than larger engines, for horsepower developed.
baconbrain, Jul 24 2006

       Regenerative braking requires few if any parts. Locomotives use them almost exclusively(those big fans on the top are mostly for braking not for cooling the engine). In its simplest form you turn your electric motor into a generator which provides drag to slow the vehicle the power generated is dumped back into the batteries, or in a locomotive application you run a giant space heater.
jhomrighaus, Jul 24 2006

       ...or put the power back out into the railway's power grid; this provides excellent braking but only if another train is trying to use the power. Otherwise the grid has approximately infinite resistance (open circuit) and no energy is dissipated, hence no braking results.
david_scothern, Jul 24 2006

       Very nice solution [d_s]. Did you just come up with that or have you seen it done?
wagster, Jul 24 2006

       That is slick, [d_s]. [Vmaldia], welcome. Your car would also be useful in places with intermittent power, since you could fire up the car and run your TV off of it.
bungston, Jul 24 2006

       [pedant moment] I believe it's Friesian, [ConsulFlaminicus]. During my horsing days I thought I wanted one of these, especially after "Ladyhawk".   

       I'll have to take your word for it on the flavor.
normzone, Jul 24 2006

       Voted for because it's necessary in some places and workable. However, it is the basic type of hybrid home mechanics have built years before any car manufacturer. No problem finding plans on the web.
Corona, Jul 25 2006

       [baconbrain], doesn't engine braking also trigger the regenerative braking system? Or are you suggesting that you never slow down?
NoOneYouKnow, Jul 25 2006

       Keep the vehicle as light as possible, capture as much braking energy as possible, use an efficient motor, and limit the top speed but optimize for low (average) speed. Forget the batteries and complicated series-hybrid drivetrain you describe due to weight and expense.   

       If the idea is to make this vehicle as cheap and efficient as you can, and minimize CO2 impact, then possibly look for inspiration in: compressed-air energy storage, biodiesel, bicycles, and local construction materials. Forget the AC - use a good mask and a small solar fan.   

       Just my two cents...
TIB, Jul 26 2006

       Just a quick point... The bulk of the cost of just about anything is actually the energy required to produce it. Think of all the fossile fuel required to dig up the ore, smelt it, transport, cut, bend, cast, form, assemble, etc... in order to make a car. Look at the purchase price for a new hybrid and compare that with the total dollar savings in gas over the life of that hybrid. It doesn't begin to make up for the energy expended to make the thing in the first place.   

       Given a choice between driving a new hybrid and a new H3, the hybrid is probably better (although even that has been questioned), but given the choice between a new hybrid and an old compact car, the old car wins hands down on all the green issues. Buying a new Prius hybrid is much worse for the environment than buying an old Civic.   

       The value in this half baked idea is that an OLD car, retrofited as an electric, and then range extended with a gasoline generator, is far, far greener than a new hybrid.
James Newton, Jul 27 2006

       Long ago when I was first investigating electric and alternate fuel vehicles, I saw a home-built example much like the one you are describing. I believe there is a link in one of the other hybrid ideas at the top of this page.   

       It was an all-electric Volkswagen Golf, with a trailer made from the engine bay and front body of another Golf. The engine in the trailer was not used as a charger though, but as a pusher-drive to extend the range. Thus for short trips the vehicle was all-electric, and for longer, all-diesel.   

       I think your idea is viable. I have investigated this option myself. However, I would suggest using a small purpose-built generator rather than a motorcycle engine if you can obtain one, as it will be more efficient. I would also suggest building in regen braking as early as possible, as it may be simpler than you think and possibly hard to add later.   

       I'd also suggest having a good read of the other ideas in this category if you really intend to build something. My current favourite is the front-wheel drive petrol engined car with the rear-wheel electric drive added.
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 27 2006

       Kudos to [James Newton] for raising an interesting point. People in their new hybrids look at me with disgust when I start my car with a slight puff of blue smoke coming out of the exhaust, but my car has "paid its dues" and lasted 20 years, while theirs will most likely have a useful life of 10 years or less, and probly took more fossil fuels to produse (in the form of plastics) than did mine. And in another 20 years, when 2 or 3 new cars have been built to replace each other, mine will still be running, and still be getting about 20 MPG.
Hunter79764, Jul 28 2006

       thanks for all your constructive comments
vmaldia, Aug 03 2006

       the new Chevrolet Volt Concept car uses some of my ideas. Shoud I sue?? LOL. Never mind.   

       The chevy Volt is essentially a straight electric car with regen braking. The factory can add on a gasoline or diesel engine and a small generator to charge the batteries or even fuel cells if you drive beyond the battery range. You can also plug it into a socket to recharge.   

       Like my idea this should be much simpler and theoretically less expensive to manufacture.   

       I dont know if, like in my idea, the petrol engine turns on automatically when the battery goes "LOW BATT" or if you have to start the engine manually
vmaldia, Jan 14 2007

       [hostage] has no ideas and has posted this link (not as a link, either) in several hybrid and EV related ideas. Might I suggest [marked-for-deletion] spam account?
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 31 2007

       Don't post complaints about spam on the spammed idea; just send email to bakesperson@halfbakery.com. Thanks!
jutta, Jul 31 2007

       Rather than trying to construct a generator from a motorcycle engine, simply use a petrol generator and put it in the boot (trunk). That and a bunch of batteries are the easy bits, the tough bit is finding a suitable electric motor (milk-floats possibly) and replacing the engine with it.
marklar, Jul 31 2007

       The scooter for electrical generation is a neat app, and you could use the rear wheel - with the drivetrain disconnected - to suspend the weight of the scoot-generator and minimize its effect on the car's handling. It will be a single-wheel trailer.   

       I know they're pricey, and the title of your idea starts with "cheaper," but I think some solar panels on the roof of your electric car would go a long way (pun unintended but welcome) toward extending your range. With an operating regime of mostly slow and stop-and-go, the solar panels work as long as it's sunny, and provide shade on the car to minimize the need for AC.
elhigh, Jul 31 2007


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