Can you convert your petrol or diesel car to an electric hybrid?

While the debate on whether or not diesel cars that are over 10 years old will be banned or not and 15 year old petrol vehicles will be scrapped rages on, admit it, you are secretly wondering whether or not you can switch to electric or at least hybrid cars. The recent hike in petrol and diesel prices would have just hastened that process. (Petrol prices were raised by Rs. 3.96 per litre and diesel by Rs. 2.97 per litre on April 30, 2015.)

Pure electric cars are few and far between – with only Mahindra right now selling a viable electric passenger car in India – the Reva e2o, with plans to introduce the Mahindra Verito electric sedan shortly. Tata Motors too is working on two electric products as well. And Maruti, has chosen to go the hybrid route (which, in our opinion, would be a more viable option in the short term), with a Swift hybrid in the offing. Toyota meanwhile sells the Camry Hybrid (recently facelifted) and the Toyota Prius in India at price points that are not really mass market.

However, there is hope (and its been growing since 2012). KPIT Technologies has a plug-in hybrid solution for just about any car, be it diesel or petrol, called the Revolo hybrid system. This is a parallel hybrid system that allows your petrol car or diesel car to be converted to a petrol-electric or diesel-electric hybrid.

How this works can be seen in the following video:

Or click HERE for a full diagram of the set up.

How it works

The system consists of an electric motor connected to the engine fan belt, and hooked up to lithium ion batteries that can be plugged in and charged via a household power outlet. The electric motor “assists” the petrol or diesel engine, by providing power to the crankshaft, resulting in a 35 per cent increase in fuel efficiency, and a 30 per cent reduction in emissions (which is significant – as it would easily make Euro III cars, Euro IV compliant).

What does it cost? For a small car like a Maruti Alto, it would cost about Rs. 80,000 to install, while it would cost about Rs. 1 lakh odd for a larger diesel vehicle. The government has come up with the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and hybrid vehicles in India) scheme, which offers up to Rs. 29,000 as incentives for two wheelers and up to Rs. 1.38 lakh subsidy for four-wheelers. The company is in talks to get these subsidies extended to retrofitted hybrid kits for cars, and if it comes through, expect the costs of installation to drop significantly!

How you can install the system

The Revolo Hybrid system is available for engine sizes (both petrol and diesel) between 800 cc and 2,500 cc, which means you can get it installed in an Alto 800 or even a Mahindra Scorpio! The installation of the system takes between 4-6 hours. The system is currently available only at Pune, at the KPIT campus, although it has already got ARAI approval. Charging the batteries takes an overnight charge, which is good for about 80 km of “assistance”.

Also read: Petrol-electric vs CNG hybrid conversion – pros and cons