Hybrid roller coaster concept

prius_based_roller_coaster

Toyota recently ran an ad campaign touting “Ideas for Good” in which the actors speculated uses for Toyota Synergy Drive hybrid systems in non-automotive related applications. One idea that was floated involved using the car’s regenerative braking system at an amusement park, in an effort to reclaim and use some of a roller coaster’s kinetic energy.

Toyota sent a Prius to the team over at Deeplocal, who deconstructed it and found that the car could generate 60 amps of current when braking. That’s not an insignificant number, so they decided to create a cool demonstration showing how powerful the technology is. They built a coaster car from the Prius’ guts, and positioned it at the top of an elevated platform, which was connected to a 70 foot track. In the video embedded below they push the car from the platform and down the track, using the regenerative braking system to illuminate a large display of amusement park lights.

While the video is little more than a well-produced advertisement for Toyota, we can’t help but think that it’s pretty cool. It’s doubtful that we will suddenly see an inrush of hybrid-based roller coasters any time soon, but the concept is interesting nonetheless.

[via Notcot]

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Hacking a hack: electric hybrid Geo Metro

[Ben Nelson] turned his electric Geo Metro into a plug-in hybrid. But wait, where’d he get an electric Geo Metro? It seems that we’re one hack behind [Ben], who converted the vehicle to all electric back in 2008 using a forklift motor and some batteries. This time around he’s following the Chevrolet Volt’s example by adding a backup generator. Instead of going with a gasoline power he added a tank of propane and the generator from a Recreational Vehicle. This won’t put out enough juice to drive while the generator is running, but you can use it to extend your traveling range by pulling over for a nap while it tops off the batteries.

BAMF2010: CMT 380X Blackbird

Okay, we lied, we totally want one of these too. The CMT 380X Blackbird is one wicked hybrid car!

Looking like it just rolled off the set of the next Batman film, the Blackbird is the brainchild of Electronic Arts Chief Creative Director [Richard Hilleman]. Starting from a kit car base — the Factory Five Racing GTM chassis — [Hilleman] created a unique 230 horsepower drive train combining a 30 kilowatt diesel turbine and 24 KWh lithium polymer battery pack.

As a purely plug-in electric car, the Blackbird has a range of 85 miles. In hybrid mode, range is extended to 500 miles. The car can accelerate from 0 to 60 in about 7 seconds. Come decelerating, the car makes use of regenerative braking.

It’s strictly a one-off for the time being, but several companies have approached [Hilleman] about possibly commercializing the design. A couple more choice pics follow the break…

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Turn your car into a hybrid

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Thanks to a Danish Engineer, you can turn pretty much any car into a hybrid. The addition is made in the form of a bolt on motor. As you can see in the picture, there is a motor that attaches to the rear wheels adding an additional 7 Hp. The batteries are stored in the trunk. Kits start at $3,500 and go up to $4,500 depending on battery selection. At least, that’s what they will be when they finally go on sale.

[via Boing Boing Gadgets]

Dean Kamen’s Stirling engine car

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[Dean Kamen]’s company, the people behind the Segway, have created a hybrid car that uses a Stirling engine instead of a standard internal combustion engine. Stirling engines are closed cycle, meaning heat is applied to the outside of the cylinder walls. They are generally more efficient than standard car engines, but haven’t been used much outside of industrial applications. We suspect that the drivetrain arrangement is similar to the Chevy Volt where the engine is used to charge batteries which are in turn driving an electric motor. This is different from modern hybrids that can have either electric motor or gas engine driving the wheels. The article is unfortunately full of classic [Kamen] hyperbole and minimal detail. He calls the Stirling engine “an insurance policy” for the electric car since it can recharge the battery. That’s right, folks. If you run out of juice, you can put gas in the car. I doubt many Prius owners will fall out of their chair over that. Being a Stirling engine, we’d be more impressed if you could charge the thing by rubbing warm toast on it.

[via Make]

Hybrid robot


[Coley] sent in this port of jetpack for the propeller uc, but when I started poking around I discovered this sweet hybrid robot platform. A four stroke Robin/Subaru 35cc motor drives a car alternator, providing virtually unlimited (in the robot world) power on demand. Hit the video after the break for a quick R/C demo and an idea of how loud the engine is. Offhand, I recognize the lovejoy coupler that was used to connect the engine to the alternator.

By the way, this bot is featured in the latest Robot magazine, so you can get details there if you hate reading forums.

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