Can A $3200 Kit Convert Your Car To Electric Power?

Whether hardcore petrolheads like it or not, we appear to be living through the final years of the internal combustion engine. In many countries there are legislative timetables in place for their eventual phasing out, and even those which remain in production are subject to ever more stringent emissions legislation. If there’s a problem with the EVs with which we’re expected to replace our fossil fuel vehicles it’s the cost, those things are still very expensive. An Aussie student has an interesting idea that’s won the James Dyson Prize: a low cost conversion for existing vehicles that bolts onto their rear wheel hubs.

Electric conversion of fossil fuel cars is nothing new, indeed we’ve brought you news of units designed to replace the original engine and transmission. Neither are wheel hub motors new, but the difference with this system is that it doesn’t require significant mechanical modification to the vehicle. It retains the old engine, and this motor sits inside each rear wheel.

It almost seems too good to be true, but a closer reading shows the rotor bolted on one side to the old wheel hub and on the other side to the wheel. The stator meanwhile is bolted to the existing brake caliper mountings. This would lead to a slightly wider track and a greater unsprung weight, but we can see that it would work. Besides the motor there’s a battery pack for the spare wheel well and a set of electrically-powered systems to supply the brake servo vacuum and other services. The idea is that this whole kit could be fitted for 5000 Australian dollars, which is somewhere south of $3200 USD. It’s not perfect and it still involves hauling around the dead weight of an unused engine, but we can see it might still have a niche. If, and that’s a big if, it ever makes it to market, that is.

113 thoughts on “Can A $3200 Kit Convert Your Car To Electric Power?

  1. “The kit would transform the vehicle into a hybrid rather than a fully electric vehicle, with a small battery giving the car 100 kilometres of electric range before the driver has to switch to the internal combustion engine.”

    You gotta keep the “dead weight” of the engine if you want to go more than 100 KM before charging. Basically it’s a DIY Prius.

      1. You might think that, but it’s not that easy to attach a motor to wheels that weren’t originally designed for it.

        There may be exceptions for AWD vehicles being converted to RWD only if you can somehow replace the transfer case with the electric motor.

        1. That, plus adding 5 – 15 kWh worth of batteries in the back adds 25 – 75 kg plus supporting and protective steel structures (+25 kg) so you’re looking at up to 100 kg extra mass plus the motors on the rear suspension system. Basically a trunk full of junk to haul around.

          1. >or one extra passenger…

            Pretty much, except they’ll be in the trunk of the car rather than sitting in the middle where they’re supposed to be. You can try how it feels to drive by loading up four bags of cement in the back.

            Also, you lose one passenger worth from the legal carrying capacity of your car. Each car has a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) which should not be exceeded for safety, because the suspension and the brakes aren’t designed to handle it.

          2. For example, a 2020 Volkswagen Golf has a curb weight of 1400 kg and a gross weight of 1900 kg – it varies slightly depending on the model and options. That is, you can legally carry 500 kg of stuff. If you add 100 kg of batteries and other paraphernalia to the mass of the car, depending on how the MOT/registration system works for you, you may have to lose the luggage space or one passenger seat, or get some special exemption.

            That’s why EV conversions prefer to pull the engine out completely. It doesn’t completely offset the added batteries, but it gets you close enough that you don’t have to do anything special to upgrade the suspension etc.

    1. Removing the ICE and transmission is trivial. Repurposing that space for battery packs could be the way to go if he can get the wheel hub motors, or some other pancake motor working. Finding wheels with a higher offset shouldn’t be an issue.

      1. It would be somewhat required to keep the weight balance of the car, since the batteries and power converters will add mass to the vehicle and putting all that in the back will mess up your handling.

      1. If an optimistic one. The claim is to go 100 km on 15 kWh of batteries, which may be true in a regular old car if you’re hypermiling it. In real EVs it’s more like 20-22 kWh per 100 km and getting it down to 15 kWh requires very low drag coefficient and low resistance tires like the Model 3 – and even then you have to be careful how you drive it (not fast).

        1. Really depends on the car. The Chevrolet Spark EV does 15kWh/100km all year long, with some cabin heating included.

          It is a subcompact, but it is far from an optimized platform.

    2. “Basically it’s a DIY Prius.”

      No. It really isn’t.

      The article mentions a “2001 Toyota” so let’s just guess it’s a Camry. So you’re talking about a ~110 kW engine. OK, so you want to use a motor to move the car now. Links elsewhere say it’s a 50 kW electric motor – I’ll be generous and assume it’s 2×25 kW. But this means you’ve got an engine that’s capable of 160 kW total output, which is massive overkill if you’re trying to build a car to be driven efficiently. For comparison Gen2/3 Priuses are ~110 kW total maximum, with the engine only capable of putting out ~60 kW.

      In order to get real serious fuel efficiency with a hybrid, you have to design the whole thing. If you slap on a battery, that’ll help with city (stop/start) mileage but it’ll hurt highway mileage due to the dead weight.

      1. That reminds me of another potential legal hurdle: if you increase the power of your car beyond its design specs, the stock brakes may not be sufficient to be legal. I’ve heard people who tune up their cars have had to swap in brake discs/calipers from other models in the same lineup, that came with bigger engines and better brakes.

        1. And that might also apply to the maximum amount of power you’re allowed to add. At least where I’m at, you can swap in the bigger engine and brakes since they were an officially approved option of that car in the first place – going beyond takes more paperwork and hurdles to jump.

          1. “Move.

            Not even CA is that fascist.”

            “Legal” might be a bit of a stretch, but it 100% is an issue with many/most insurance companies, regardless of where you live. You might think you’re okay driving around with 2x the horsepower, but are you sure your insurance covers it? Modified car insurance exists for a reason.

    1. Sounded like he was looking to COS parts for auxiliary functions – break vac, heating etc. Readily available in EV retrofit scene. The heaters they use are basically kettles and plumb up the same way.

  2. Great idea but until the throttle / braking controls are worked out it’s worthless as an existing car add 0n. The system need to know when to apply power with the engine and the system has to know when to apply regen to capture and store energy. Their best hope is to sell their concep to a new car manufacturer.

    I had the same idea but to use a Jeep Cherokee transfer case to add electric motor power to a 2 wheel drive Jeep. With my concept the electric motor would apply power to the front axle output shaft. I stopped developing my project because I could not find a way to augment the existing controls.

  3. There is reason there are no hub drive EV cars. Also Dyson is not a finging endorsement.

    There is a company designing an $8,000 total EV conversion designed to swap in 4-8 hrs flatrate IIRC. Sadly for us across the pond the new Mini Cooper is the only car that made it over here. I think its a French company.

    So yes, a hack. I don’t think hub motors hold up to automotive stresses.

    1. They can be fine, even if the motor itself’s cost will be higher than an equivalent inboard. But the concept scales from scooters and bikes to polar crawlers.

      Hub motors can be very nice if you’re designing from a clean sheet to take advantage of them or if you’re trying to simplify a retrofit. Sure, your power is limited, though you can decide to double it by adding them to both the front and back. But whether inboard or outboard, it’s very nice to have one motor per driven wheel, as you can vector the power to each wheel for perfect AWD.

      In a clean sheet EV, you can use the better packaging to reduce drag and increase available space for either storage or batteries. As I understand it, right now if your EV has a layer of batteries under the floor and a flat plate under that, just a bit below the middle of the axle, you’re doing good. But if you want to reduce your CdA the most, that’s not the maximally efficient arrangement. Neither is using a differential to reduce the number of motors – though you can say that the choice may be between a more efficient motor with losses in the gears or a less efficient motor with no such losses.

        1. It’s not like I don’t know about unsprung weight. It’s just that it isn’t the most important part of any vehicle, the way people seem to think it is.
          In some cases, the weight is comparable to the difference in weight between the lightest and heaviest wheel/tire options people regularly put onto their vehicles with no compensatory changes at all. Or possibly even the lightest and heaviest factory options. Depends on the vehicle of course; old sedans are usually lighter than new suv’s and are rarely fitted with incredibly heavy wheels.

          1. ‘any’ vehicle?

            No, just wrong.

            The most important part of all vehicles is the tire, keeping it on the ground matters for all vehicles, some more than others. Basically: Faster it goes, more it matters.

            Electric ungeared engines that can go into car wheel hubs are heavy. As are geared sets.

            More weight than any size aluminum wheel. Not that shitty wheels aren’t bad. Donks suck.
            More than the weight of an old fashioned/good truck axle, but not by much (unless Westinghouse diff). You’ll note that 4x4s aren’t known for handling on the street. Also big tires handle bumps better.

            There is no reason not to put the engines inboard and use old fashioned shafts. The engines last longer, everything is better, room for brakes.

            The edge case is heavy equipment, with no suspension except the tire sidewall. That’s where you find hydraulic hub motors.

          2. I said the *unsprung weight* wasn’t the most important, not that the tires aren’t important at all or that keeping them in contact wasn’t important. It’s worth a significant unsprung weight to use the tires we do. In addition to just being pneumatic with a certain thickness of sidewall to soak up bumps, they spend weight on other benefits too. So is the steel and rubber in an automotive tire versus the thinner and lighter carcass of other tires- the tire is actually heavier than the rim, often significantly heavier, but it’s often worth it. A larger diameter and width is very often beneficial despite the increase in weight, within limits. Comparing a couple of very similar trucks I’ve driven, the handling of the one with larger wheels and tires was better, even though they were probably about 80 pounds each on a 4500lb vehicle. And honestly, almost all modern vehicles including many trucks have good enough handling to vastly exceed any reasonable speed for a given road. People may not be able to handle them at high speed, but the vehicle is much further from its limits than older vehicles used to be.

            Anyway, irrespective of all that, there’s also the fact we currently put the brakes on the wheels. If we wanted to reduce unsprung weight to the utmost, we’d better put them inboard somewhere as well despite all the disadvantages of doing so, or use smaller weaker brakes to save weight. We don’t because sometimes it is acceptable to just put something on the wheel when there’s a good reason to do so. IIRC, the big iron front rotors alone on a modern sedan are over 20lb. I’ve not had them off to know, so I could be wrong. Say I’m right. That and the rest of the system will be a bit more. Some of the hub motors out there say they integrate with the braking system, or have their own brakes. With that and/or regenerative braking, you might save a fair portion of the weight of brakes. You’ll also save on u- or cv- joints, diffs, half shafts, that kind of thing. It’s just a little, but enough to really cut into the true difference in mass of adding a 50lb motor to a couple wheels. Especially if you’re adding them to the rear since the front wheels can actually be lightened compared to a FWD car and the rear can be compensated for a number of ways that weren’t always possible before, to fight any new oversteer tendency at least. FWD cars demand a lot out of their front wheels and not nearly as much from the rears, so I’d expect not to need as big of everything as they do.

  4. Another part of the equation that nobody ever takes into factor is where the electricity comes from off the grid. It doesn’t come from fantasyland. It comes from another fuel source and in a lot of cases it’s coal power or hydroelectric or some other source that solar wind and whatever green source of energy isn’t able to keep up with on an existing electrical grid that cannot handle the workload that we already have.

    1. And another person stuck in fantasyland that fails to factor in is that EVs powered from Fossil Fuels from the grid are still greener and more efficient than burning fuel in an Internal Combustion engine.

      Just because the source is still dirty, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have better efficiency!

        1. Yeah, the better efficiency sounds a bit dubious, possible though in some cases of energy used vs distance driven. Then there’s pollution costs.

          Speaking of dubious, aren’t we past the “duh but power still comes from fossil fuels” bollocks by now? World is currently over 10% renewable, and expected to exceed 30% this year. Time for a different “but it’ll never work” soundbites.

        2. Large-scale utility plants have an efficiency of 60%. ICEs are 20 to 30% depending on load.
          The drivetrain of an EV is about 80%, so taking the chain as a whole into account it’s more efficient to burn the fossil fuels in a utility plant than in an ICE.

          1. Please add the embedded energy cost of the battery. Assuming optimal use, it’s about 10% of the energy you put through the battery, and it goes up from there.

            The optimum is about using up the battery cycles (maximum energy throughput) as quickly as possible so you don’t lose capacity to aging of the cells. Any battery capacity that is sitting unused is money and energy down the drain.

          2. this debate has been coming up for years (much longer than modern EVs and hybrids have been around) and it’s an important discussion to have, but it’s also one where people often seem more interested in proving their own pre-existing assumptions than trying to figure out the reality.

            There are a lot of *big* variables, like the energy cost of manufacturing batteries and EV-focused drivetrains, the ultimate lifespan of the vehicle and components involved, the energy required to build out and maintain a reliable grid that can handle EV loads, etc., that make it really difficult to estimate the overall energy consumption of an EV or hybrid vs. a pure ICE vehicle – and that’s not even looking at the other environmental and social costs involved in manufacturing and using EVs.

            What we can say, however, is that EVs are *potentially* way more efficient than gasoline cars, and in many cases currently *are* more efficient than gasoline cars even when all externalities have been estimated to the best of current research’s abilities.

            Can governments, auto manufacturers, and car buyers completely screw this up and jump into an EV transition that ends up being worse than the internal combustion engines it was intended to replace? Undoubtedly. But that’s no reason to write the whole thing off.

          3. “Large-scale utility plants have an efficiency of 60%.”
            “ICEs are 20 to 30%”

            You’re taking the highest efficiency power plant and comparing it to the lowest efficiency ICE. Nice cherry-picking of data, there.

            Combined-cycle natural gas plants do hit 60% thermal. Coal, oil, and single-cycle are under 40%, however. ICE engines have hit 50% thermal and high-efficiency hybrids are already in the 40s. This shouldn’t be surprising. It’s just thermodynamics.

            Transmission efficiency is 95%. Charging efficiency at home can be very bad, like 85% (even worse for 120V!). Even being generous at 90% it works out close to the same.

            The benefit of EVs is that you have to redo the power supply infrastructure anyway so the efficiency will grow with time. But there are definitely sections of the world and situations where EVs can be worse.

          4. >Can governments, auto manufacturers, and car buyers completely screw this up

            A good rule of thumb for any hyped up transition between technology A and B is that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The early adopters always ignore problems that are invisible until the technology is truly scaled up.

          5. @Pat all of those high efficiency ICE numbers are only correct when the engine is used at a continuous ideal load and rpm, rather than as a conventional ICE car where there’s idling, fixed gear ratios, people accelerate and then brake again, etc.

            I find it reasonable to assume the PHEV prius should get better efficiency out of its ICE than a normal ICE car. It manages to get 47 highway mpg on gas (around 52 combined, but that probably includes regenerative braking?) and I think 260 Wh/mile on battery for the EPA tests. I acknowledge real world differs, but that’s a decent third party estimate. Those two figures from the exact same car mean that it’s making use of 35-40 percent of the energy in the gasoline it burned. And that’s an *excellent* figure, which is not going to be reached by all the pure ICE cars on the road which don’t even have stop/start. They’re not just going to be a little bit worse, but a lot worse.

          6. SpaceMinions:
            You think a combined cycle power plant always runs at 60% efficiency?

            That’s it’s maximum, ideal efficiency.
            When load following it has the similar issues to a car engine.

            For the first few hours after start, it’s just an expensive CT (combustion turbine).
            At anything other than 100%, it’s as efficient as a jet engine idling on a taxiway.

          7. Getting an ICE to run at max efficiency’s been dealt with for years now.

            “I find it reasonable to assume the PHEV prius should get better efficiency out of its ICE than a normal ICE car.”

            It has nothing to do with the plug-in portion. It’s just thermodynamics. Oil plants and ICE vehicles have similar efficiencies because they use the same fuel, so they’re limited to the same compression ratios, and they use the same cycle.

            Hybrids help because *most* of the time, a driver doesn’t actually need the peak power output of a car, and so you don’t need an ICE *capable* of accelerating hard. So you run the vehicle with a modified Atkinson-like cycle and if a driver wants to accelerate, you drain the battery.

            In the end everything ends up basically the same, because it’s all just thermodynamics.

          8. That’s absurd! We all agree that acceleration and driving at very slow speeds put the gas engine into a massively worse efficiency range versus a hybrid or an EV which can handle it electrically at nearly the same drivetrain efficiency, even if you never used regen.

            The thermodynamic efficiency that a gas engine approaches isn’t even the same one as what the efficient power plants generally approach, no matter what temperature they operate at, because most power plants are going to do things with the rankine cycle rather than use oil burning piston engines, which you know but didn’t say. Heck, the otto, atkinson, and diesel cycles are still a bit different anyway. And we know in practice they don’t come as close to their ideal cycle as rankine stuff can to its own.

            The power plant has the opportunity to get better efficiency because it’s not forced to fit under the hood of a civic and can afford to cost more and have a longer life cycle. So it can do things like multiple reheats, massive heat exchangers, and benefits from geometries of scale. It also isn’t asked to spin up and down anywhere near as quickly, because unlike a gas engine car and like a hybrid car, there’s other sources of power that can assist it and cause it to get better efficiency, and since we’re all collectively using that one plant, we make sure to arrange things to help it out when we can.

          9. “@Pat all of those high efficiency ICE numbers are only”

            And if you doubt me on that, there are *detailed* models on car engine performance available out there. The first-generation Prius (~20 years ago!) had a nearly flat 35% engine thermal efficiency from 10-40 kW output, and below 10 kW output the engine’s off. And again, that was *20 years ago*. The modern Prius is 40% the vast majority of the time.

      1. Not to mention that centralizing the energy production means that if you switch it to a greener source, the entire vehicle fleet instantly becomes greener.

        That fact trumps this oft-trotted-out refrain about dirty power plants.

        1. Here’s the riddle: where does the energy come from when you plug in your EV right now?

          Answer: it comes from some dispatchable power source, because the grid needs to balance the supply and demand. Wind and solar are not dispatchable – you can’t increase output at will – so the energy comes from other sources such as gas and coal that can throttle up as needed. Even if it’s quite sunny or windy right now, adding more load on the grid does not turn the wind up or make the sun brighter.

          Of course adding more green energy reduces the average fossil fuel use, but adding more load on the grid then increases it back up because of the supply meet demand problem. It only actually works the way you imagine if there’s a surplus of renewable energy that is being held back, and the battery charging is controlled to use this supply, or if there is some intermediate storage that can match your demand to the supply.

          1. And of course, what if there is an intermediate storage solution?

            In practical terms, you need more than one battery per vehicle, which is a hidden cost. Large scale storage systems on the grid, built using today’s or near future battery technologies, are actually inefficient because of the high embedded energy cost issue.

            These systems have to be massive to catch the large surges of energy coming in and then spreading them more evenly over time, which means the capacity is not optimally used. It has to be oversized to keep a buffer both ways, in and out, so you don’t run out or spill over and lose energy. That means much of the capacity is essentially idle and wasting away as the batteries age.

          2. “It only actually works the way you imagine if there’s a surplus of renewable energy that is being held back”

            It should be noted that this is not technologically impossible – it’s just an economic issue. Fundamentally we do *have* a massive amount of renewable energy that *is* being held back – there are no windmills there, no tidal generators, no solar panels.

            The overarching point is not “EVs are stupid!” – it’s “you have to fix the grid first.” Well, and you also want to fix the US obsession with gigantic inefficient vehicles, that’s important too. But greening the grid has a *much* higher ROI in terms of carbon reduction – the only advantage for incentivizing EVs is it’s cheaper governmentally because citizens are paying for it. But you’d still be better off just taxing people.

      2. But is it more efficient? In the U.S., utility scale power plant CO2 output is 388g per kilowatt hour. Diesel and gasoline ICEs are 200 and 300 respectively (couldn’t find good sources for those 2 numbers – that’s from memory). Maybe YOUR grid power is cleaner, or maybe it will be in the future. But on average, in the U.S., today it is not.

        1. ICE go down from 150 to 250 co2/g per km. And it’s a conservative value from an highway trip. In the city traffic this value can quadruple it’s emissions due the inefficiency of the ICE engine outside the torque area.
          In a electric car you need considerate your local power sources but in the worst case your co2 emissions is comparable with an ICE, BUT you move away the pollution from the big cities to rural area. Also, you can’t improve over time your ICE vehicle but your electric grid and production can.

          1. Newer EU regulations demand 95 g/km in 2024. The average achieved so far is 120 g/km.

            The average EV emissions in the EU grid currently stand somewhere between 50-100 g/km, not including the manufacturing energy/emissions.

          2. “In the city traffic this value can quadruple it’s emissions due the inefficiency of the ICE engine outside the torque area.”

            Then stop allowing crappy engines. We’ve had ICE vehicles with flat efficiency curves for 20+ years now.

  5. I WO der what thuis does legally. Here in NL, after you’d do a conversion, you have tot het the entire car re-approved by the government for a sloppy 10k, because the propulsion mechanisme was changed.

    So texhnically, its still a full on Patrol car.

    1. Would probably need an engineering certificate aka mod plate because I’m guessing they’d call that a pretty substantial modification to the braking system. They would probably want to see other typical EV retrofit gear like inertial switch/crash sensor, contactor switch, heavy gauge cabling with appropriate insulation etc.

  6. I remember seeing hub motors meant for cars on Alibaba years ago, pretty similar idea. With those you’d need to remove the old hubs and make some sort of adapter for your model. It’s a cool idea, but I think the main problem is the battery, it would still be very expensive and you’d have a heck of a time finding a spot for it and routing power cables, not to mention the controller and charger.. I really doubt you could do it for 5k..

  7. This looks janky.

    On a more legit note: Ford sells the motor from the Mach-E as a crate motor. But that’s pretty useless, because they don’t sell all the other stuff you need:

    regenerative brakes
    battery packs
    electric replacements for power-steering (and perhaps brake) pumps

    Now THOSE components are what we need to start seeing as kits.

  8. Interesting idea if it could help you save money. If you watch the video you’ll see he hasn’t even got a working prototype. Also climate alarmism is BS. There is no climate emergency.

    1. I have unsprung mass concerns every timeI see ‘Dubs on a vehicle. Hummer3 is known to shed front wheeo bearings when you lift them on the service hoist (per a mechanic friend of mine).

      But people don’t care. They might if it quits moving forward or has terrible range, which a brokenhub mitir would.

      1. Nobody is ‘in favor’ of donks.
        Except as warnings about the driver’s intelligence or lack thereof.

        Stance your car, nobody cares. 30 degree camber is fine. We’re not paying the tire bill.

  9. Plug in Hybrids are where we need to go until the energy storage model and charging networks can be sorted out. If you get sufficient energy density going a PHEV could go the hundreds of miles on battery alone and switch to ICE when needed.

    So, rather than dump the idea of the ICE, how about we save the planet in a methodical way, rather than RUSH to eliminate a technology that is mature and getting better every year?

    1. Because that would be a rational policy. So politicians won’t do it. Because why use proven technology that won’t get you elected when you can use a different technology that can achieve the opposite of what you want for double the price and half the freedom, but will get you elected?

    2. IMHO the problems with hybrid are that you get all the maintenance in your car. So you have to handle batteries and faster tire wear (like an EV) AND oil, antifreeze, filter changes etc. (like an ICE).

      My wife and I moved to one EV and one ICE, and that’s as close as I want to ever get to a hybrid. We drive her car (EV) as much as we can, but we have the other one as needed, or if we want to go on a longer trip w/out consistent charging station, etc.

      I know that’s not an option for everyone, and maybe there are good use cases for hybrid, but I always saw those as helping to support the infrastructure shift vs. cost savings for the owners.

      1. That seems like a good solution for you.

        But everyone’s driving requirements are different. My daily drive to work is a 16 mile loop but all my other trips tend to range 90 miles or more. So although it might seem obvious that I should buy an EV to drive to work, any cost savings disappear after factoring in additional registration, depreciation and insurance cost. So for me the right answer would be a plug-in hybrid with about 20 miles on the battery. This way I can drive all electric to work and the long trips would be in hybrid mode.

          1. Teslas are built to be unfixable after wrecks.
            Revians are even worse.

            They might as well be German cars.

            That’s not inherent to electric. It’s because the chassis are being designed by morons who believe in their own genius.

            The Germans know they are building disposable cars. It’s on purpose.
            I don’t get that feeling from Tesla. Their cars are disposable by accident.

      2. “IMHO the problems with hybrid are that you get all the maintenance in your car.”

        So buy a sane hybrid, not a wacko one. If you slap a battery+motor on an ICE, it’ll have a higher curb weight, sure. If you design it sanely, it can be *lighter*, not heavier. Priuses aren’t particularly heavy even with NiMH batteries!

        I mean, I could say “the problem with EVs is they just can’t go very fast” if I point to the toy-like things China sells that are overgrown golf carts.

        1. The NiMH battery Priuses are/were probably longer lasting than the lithium battery versions, because the nickel battery has a better shelf life and can take more abuse. Flooded cell nickel batteries are known to last 20 years.

          1. Well, the replacement cells available for older Priuses are LiFePO4, which can still take buckets of abuse, too (and of course you can still buy the NiMHs). And since the battery’s small and trivial to access, the replacement cost is not that big a deal. Toyota also restricted the charge/discharge usage of the NiMH packs to only a small percentage of capacity, too.

            I mean, it’s not ‘free’ – it’s like $2K – but it’s not “maybe I should blow up this car for YouTube clicks instead” expensive.

          2. Only problem with LiFePO4 is that it doesn’t work in the cold. It discharges, but doesn’t charge below 0 C so it takes a long time to heat in the winter before the hybrid system can kick in. Same reason why they don’t replace all lead acid starter batteries with it.

          3. Yeah, but if you keep the battery in the passenger compartment that’s not really a huge drawback – people don’t want freezing passenger compartments.

            At that point It’s just a thermal management issue, it’s not that bad (especially with modern phase-change type materials, which let you be conducting when warm and insulating when cold). If you get like, days of cold soak, sure, you’ll be unable to charge, but that’s a rare condition.

    3. Mostly because that is what we should have been doing a generation ago but the same people flipping out over the faster transition now have been fighting against it holding change back for decades. Now we are already having detrimental changes to the climate and much more drastic tipping points loom near.

      Sure loved inhaling all that smoke from Canada even from 1,000 miles away this summer! :-(

      So.. we get to make a quicker, more painful rushed and forced transition because people suck. And even more so they still fight it because… they suck.

  10. What’s all this about weight in the back messing up handling?

    I grew up in an area with snowy winters in an era of rear-wheel drive cars.
    We put weight in the back on purpose because it IMPROVED handling.

    I don’t know, maybe it’s different with front wheel drive? But these motors are going in back so… even if it wasn’t before… it’s rear wheel drive now!

    1. The weight is in the wheel. Thus the suspension will have a terrible time trying to keep it in contact with the ground. Any direction it bounces off in it will have more mass and energy. The car will need to be stiffer and heavier, as will the suspension and shocks/springs. To have the same level of traction and ride quality.

  11. Slip rings to power the motors when the ICE mode is used, or having to disconnect like having to switch 4WD hub locks when going on this mode? That is the question if it’s a hybrid.

    1. What’s the bet exactly?

      ICE will be around for a long while yet, but research into new designs has essentially stopped. ICE cars have a few decades left at best.

      Look at garden tools, and construction tools before that (ICE –> electric –> battery).

        1. liquidpiston is a vaporware capital suck thats never going to find its way into anything. Google search “LiquidPiston Insiders Offloading $7.5 Million in Stock Despite Declining Profits” They go over the broad strokes of the scam. Enjoy!

          1. That article is over a year old. Since then they’ve gotten several contracts with the US military. The US military wants more compact, lighter and more efficient generators.

        2. Yep that article is over a year old and all youve done is reiterate that they are a capital sucking black hole of scammery. They have been sucking up tax dollars through government contracts that GO NOWHERE for over two decades. They have BROUGHT NOTHING TO MARKET. and they NEVER WILL.
          Its snakeoil and monorails.

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