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Old 10th February 2020, 12:00   #1
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Default A different kind of hybrid vehicle - Obrist Hyper Hybrid

My next vehicle will most probably be an EV. My next commercial vehicle that I will be buying soon will definitely be an EV. An EV seems to be a perfect vehicle for anyone who doesn't need to drive more than 100kms a day. Although we do have vehicles providing 2-3 times that range but 'range anxiety' is something the early adopters will have to deal with till the infrastructure and electricity production ramp up to meet the future demands.

The answer to range anxiety are -

a) Bigger battery packs, which are becoming cheaper by the day, but are still one of the most expensive components of the car and are resource hungry to produce but advancements are being made at a very rapid pace in both production and recycling methods which bodes very well for the BEV vehicles' future.

b) A hybrid drivetrain.Nearly every company has a hybrid vehicle in their lineup. However, the current methodology is to use a big engine and a tiny battery which usually only works at pottering speeds of 20-40 km/hr.
A company named Obrist has come up with a new Hybrid vehicle where they reduced the battery size on a Tesla Model 3 to 17kWh and added a Zero Vibration 2 cylinder petrol engine to the mix. The resulting vehicle drives upto 65 km/hr on batteries only and after that the tiny, highly efficient engine kicks in. It also kicks in eveytime the batteries drop to 50% capacity. They claim that this engine is 40% efficient and has zero vibrations which they demonstrate in the video I have linked below.

The end result is a car, which they claim to have a real world usage of 2L petrol and 7kWh of electricity for a 100km drive. With a 30L tank, the car's range is 1500kms as per their claims.

Why would someone come up with such a vehicle?

According to the people behind this project, this will make electric cars highly affordable as both the battery and engine are very small(just enough) and cheap to produce. It will offer the benefits of an electric vehicle with no range anxiety at under $20k is what they claim.

This video popped up in my Youtube feed and I thought I would like to know what other prospective EV buyers think about this especially since both electricity production and distribution are not upto the mark in whole of India and will take a lot of time before one can easily charge their cars in Tier 3 towns or rural areas of India.

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Old 11th February 2020, 08:14   #2
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Default Re: A different kind of hybrid vehicle - Obrist Hyper Hybrid

Originally Posted by rdst_1 View Post
The resulting vehicle drives upto 65 km/hr on batteries only and after that the tiny, highly efficient engine kicks in.
While there are some differences here, the idea isn't new. Chevrolet's famous & over-hyped Volt also did the same thing. Here's an interesting article + comments on it (real world perspective) - Curbside Classic link.

Some of the BMWs also (e.g. i3) used a battery with a petrol engine as a "range extender".
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Old 11th February 2020, 11:13   #3
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Default Re: A different kind of hybrid vehicle - Obrist Hyper Hybrid

In one of my earlier threads, I did mention this as the solution for India in electric vehicle journey. I have driven Toyota Prius back in US and also few other parallel hybrids like ford explorer hybrid. But the one you showed is serial hybrid like BMW i3.

The video you showed stands for serial hybrid architecture and is the perfect path India needs to take for electrification.

Here was my suggestion. We made efforts to send to prime minister few years ago, through internal channel. Yes. Nothing happened.

Announce same tax relief and benefits for serial hybrid cars as already given to electric cars. i.e GST at 5% or 12% instead of 28% + ED and no RTO even for Serial hybrid cars with following conditions.

1a. Range extender engine petrol only and capacity not exceeding 10 or 15 Litres of fuel tank.
2a. Battery capacity, not less than 10KWhr for small cars, 15KW for SUVs.
3a. GST @5% for 5 years and conditions 1 and 2 may change over the period of time.

In fact govt can even put petrol green tax and add more rupees as tax to petrol, collect additional money.

What happens here is magic.

1. Serial hybrids are more efficient compared to ICE. For eg, 10KWhr battery means, 100KMs range on electric mode. (1KWhr means 7 to 10Kms). Now range extender may turn on after first 50Kms of pure electric drive. If the car user uses only 50Kms, then he has saved $$ on 50Kms of journey by not paying Dubai people, around 3 liters worth petrol money. India saved 3 liters on petrol import. Now, the user puts car on charge in the night, he is covered for next 50Kms of journey without petrol, next day!!! You see, small drops of water make up a lake. Small small savings add a lot!

2. For journey beyond 100Kms, range extender engine turns on. Even the range extender ICE is far more efficient compared to regular engine as it operates on a fixed EFFICIENCY RPM and not wide range of RPM as seen in the regular petrol or diesel cars. There is a $$ saving already. Regenerative braking, efficiency in city driving of serial hybrids vs pure ICE etc add all up in savings. For eg, Maruti Suzuki had a serial hybrid program, where swift hybrid gave over 40Kmpl.

3. This type of cars, Serial hybrid with big battery will get immediate acceptance as RANGE ANXIETY is not there due to range extender available.

4. As mentioned earlier in item 3a of my suggestion, after two or three years, as the battery prices fall, local battery manufacturing picks up, now the government my change the rule and impose, say 15KWhr battery minimum capacity instead of 10KWhr battery.

Again, few years down the lane, change to 20KWhr, 30KWhr. The range extender engine now kicks in far less time as the battery capacity is more and user is more than happy to run on electric mode as it is cheaper.

5. Even if the user visits petrol bunk, the visits will be less as every day he gets 100KMs on electric range. The problem with existing ICE model is that for every feet of journey, we have to pay to Oil producing nations $$.

6. As petrol prices are higher due to added green tax, less efficient only ICE based vehicles is perish due to operational cost, gradually over the period of time.

This approach is a win win situation for every one.

For manufacturers, they get used to battery technology from 10KWhr onwards unlike Tesla which has 50KWhr onwards

For users, there is no range anxiety issue. Even I would not worry about buying this car as it can work in electric mode for all my city driving and I am also covered for long journey, due to availability of range extender engine.

I wish our leaders were more science knowledged persons. I wish..Guess, its wishful thinking. Nothing happens.
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Old 15th February 2020, 12:28   #4
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Default Re: A different kind of hybrid vehicle - Obrist Hyper Hybrid

This or a small suitcase size unit that can be kept in the boot space and used to charge the vehicle in case of emergencies on long drives. Say with Nexon kind of range that will be enough for 200 odd km's, if a long drive is planned just carry this along. If you dont find a place to charge on the way just plug this in!. Also handy in case of extended power cuts wherein one can use this to power homes too. This is an area Honda Power should pay some attention to in coming years.
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