Those of you with petrol cars looking to save a bit of cash on fuel, here’s another option – besides CNG and LPG, you will soon be able to convert your car to a parallel hybrid that uses an electric motor to aid the petrol engine, and save up to 30% fuel.
According to a report in The Economic Times, a policy framework is being drafted by the ministry of heavy industries that will allow manufacturers of hybrid kits to convert existing petrol and diesel cars and SUVs into petrol-electric or diesel-electric hybrids.
How the system works
Now these kits are not true hybrids, like the Toyota Prius for example. For instance, a kit from KPIT Cummins, called Revolo, uses an electric motor connected via a belt to the engine crankshaft, and connected to a battery pack. The battery can be charged using a household electric socket overnight, and when the car is running, it regenerates some power. The electric motor helps turn the petrol or diesel engine, reducing load on the engine, and reducing the need to accelerate too much, saving up to 30% fuel apparently. See our Video: Revolo system converts any car into a hybrid
KPIT Cummins and Bharat Forge have these systems almost ready to market and are just waiting for approvals. ARAI testing of KPIT Cummins’ Revolo system apparently showed that a Maruti Alto gave up to 35% more fuel economy in the city (clocking over 23 kmpl in the city), while a similar motor in a Tata 207 pick-up truck also increased fuel economy by 30%. These kits are not cheap though – and are more expensive than even a CNG kit. It costs about Rs. 60,000 – Rs. 80,000 for an Alto, depending on whether you choose a Lithium ion or lead-acid battery pack.
Of course, compared to true hybrid systems like the Toyota Prius system, this is just a fraction of the cost. There are incremental costs associated – like additional electricity usage from your household connection and once every four years or so, you would need to replace the battery pack, which is a significant cost. Also read: Mahindra E20 launch delayed
What we think
The benefit of such a system is that unlike a full electric car like the upcoming Mahindra E20, you don’t need to worry about range or availability of charging points. If you drive a significant distance, you could recur the costs of the kit in about three to four years’ time. Apparently car makers like Maruti are looking at these kits with keen interest. Such kits are a low-cost hybrid solution at best, and will help you do your bit to reduce environmental pollution to an extent, but they are not as clean or efficient as pure electric systems. And fully electric cars with adequate range are still a few years away.
Source: The Economic Times