It fits into a wheel hub and can double a car's fuel economy. That's the claim of Dr. Charles Perry, who says his plug-in hybrid retrofit kit can save America 120 million gallons of fuel per day. Big talk. But then, inventors betting on revolutionary uphevals need to talk as big as they think. The former IBM electrical engineer designed the kit to transform existing automobiles into hybrids by placing an electric motor inside each wheel. Perry recently took first prize for his invention at a green energy competition at the Tennessee Technology Development Corp. The plan is to develop the kit into a product selling for between $3,000 and $5,000.
As part of the prize, Perry received a $50,000 grant, which will be matched by Palmer Labs LLC of Reston, Va., whose goal is to commercialize the invention.
Perry reiterates a common statistic that 80 percent of US drivers make daily trips of fewer than 30 miles at 40 miles per hour or slower. Such performance, he says, can be achieved by way of his 10-15 horsepower electric motors, which would be powered by extra batteries installed in a car's trunk.
Perry will work with the Tennessee Technological University on a prototype, then plans to fit 30 state-owned vehicles with the kit for testing. The final stage would see the kits manufactured by Palmer Labs within three years.
Sounds good, but I will believe it when I see it.
3 years? Sounds too little to late. With Hybrids a rampant and a move towards electrics there won't be much of a need for a retro fit. Combustion Engine cars that remain prevelant will be either cheap cars whos owners can't afford a $3k plus mechanic fees fix or muscle cars and trucks that won't want it. Just my thoughts. Push the envelope and get it out tomorrow(or next year)!
It's not to little to late because 3 years from now, most americans may not be in the financial situation to buy a brand new hybrid vehicle. Most americans will have the cars that they've been putting around in and will intend to continue to put around in them. Even in 3 years, it will still be prudent to have a very financially feasible way such as this to take advantage of the hybrid/electric revolution.
I'm pretty skeptical about this concept. Wish that there was a 'where are they now' feature that followed up on these types of deals.
In this case, I think that the claim is a little fantastic
"double your mileage" -- maybe they're not counting the cost when it just runs on electricty.
But there's no mention of regenerative braking, which is where hybrids pick up a lot of efficiency.
I'm also skeptical about adding weight in the wheel. You don't want unsprung weight, which is what this seems to be. It raises heck with the suspension.
Intersting idea. Hopefully it works.
Would the kit fit on a 1994 Ford Ranger pickup? I putt-putt to and from work at about 20-35 MPH max.
Also, does it come with that pill that turns water into gasoline I've heard so much about that is also just three years away?
Retrofitting cars is one use. Another is fitting these wheel motors to trailers. Many buy a large SUV just for its trailer towing capacity but use it 99% of the time as a daily driver wasting its towing capacity.
With wheel motors in the trailer plus a rechargeable battery pack, the trailer could provide the extra power needed only when it was needed - essentially powering itself. It would need a telescoping tongue with a sensor that tells the wheel motors to provide just enough power to eliminate the drag on the towing vehicle and when to shift to regenerative braking.
With such a trailer, the consumer could buy a much smaller towing vehicle, save dramatically on daily fuel costs and still tow the trailer. Since the trailer sits outside most of the time, solar panels could keep the battery topped or even, over time, charge it completely.
I wonder if that means you could fit just one wheel for $2,000. And if so, what its performance would be.
Then, I wonder how you switch from one to another. I suspect a hand toggle would do, and then the question would be, does this include a plug-in capability?
After that, there's the solar garage, which could produce the juice for free.
EV wheel motors won't work as they don't, can't have enough starting torque. And where the eff is comes from not having to start up the motor. Works great in a bike, MC where one can push off with ones feet but starting up any kind of hill isn't going to happen in a conversion. On a really lightweight built as an EV maybe but not on overweight ICE's.
Sounds similiar to the idea GM had in the mid 80 that was reported by Popular mechanics. They used 4,25 horsepower pancake motors at each wheel. The motors also help recharge the batteries during braking. Nothing new here except retrofitting existing vehicles. Still require a better battery. Where are the solar panels on the roof and hoods of the car to recharge during the day when the cars are sitting in the parking lot at work??
I always thought it would save a lot by going electric when stuck in slow stop-start traffic. Just one motor would do the trick .