The fast route to PHEV?

  • Toyota (Prius) and Chevy (Volt) seem to be in a race as to who will provide the first mass-produced plug-in-hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) onto the market. The backfit market is building, with options coming to market for plug-in conversions for existing hybrids. But what about the 10s of millions of normal, internal combustion engines out there? Is there any hope for them? If Poulsen Hydrid is to be believed, the answer is a resounding YES.The Poulsen Hybrid Power Assist System “creats a PHEV by retro-fitting electric motors, DC motor controllers, storage batteries and an on-board charger to a conventional new or used automobile.” The electric system would be used for maintaining speed, after acceleration.

    The development is based on the observation that only 10-15 horsepower is required to propel a compact or mid-size automobile along a level road at a steady 60-70 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.

    The systems puts hybrid electric motors on the outside of the rear wheels with an onboard charger.

    The system is expected to debut on the market next month. $3300 for purchase and $600 for “professional installation”.

    Honestly, mark me intrigued but questioning. For example,

  • This system doesn’t have regenerative braking, thus one is simply trading the cost of gasoline for electricity. At $4000, a break even point comes well after saving 1000 gallons of gasoline. Thus, how much gasoline is really saved as this system basically moves the ICE to idling while the electricity handles acceleration.
  • The addition of this system outside the car will increase wind drag. A meaningful amount? Don’t know.
  • Also, some basic safety questions must arise. What are the implications for adding these systems outside the car?
  • Some questions and reasons for wondering, but still pretty intrigued with this ingenious approach to tackling the challenges of the huge existing fleet of internal combustion engine vehicles and moving miles from gasoline to electricity.

    • Widespread adoption of PHEVs can reduce GHG emissions from vehicles by more than 450 million metric tons annually in 2050 – equivalent to removing 82.5 million passenger cars from the road.
    • There is an abundant supply of electricity for transportation; a 60% U.S. market share for PHEVs would use 7 percent to 8 percent of grid-supplied electricity in 2050.
    • PHEVs can improve nationwide air quality and reduce petroleum consumption by 3 million to 4 million barrels per day in 2050.
    • But do we have 43 years to do this?
      Why not start with today’s automobiles



    Hat tip to AutoBlogGreen.


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