With many drivers wishing they could utilize hybrid drive systems to save fuel and the environment, Sportservice Lorinser presented Easybrid at the Essen Motor Show in Germany. It's an innovative solution using a retrofit electric hub motor producing 41hp of additional power, allowing owners of small cars to boost the performance if they wish.
Better known as an aftermarket tuner of Mercedes-Benz, Lorinser asked what would happen if it was possible to fit hybrid technology as a retrofit solution into existing cars rather than luxury cars.
The prerequisties are that suitable donor cars must have drum brakes on the rear axle. Stators are then fitted to the brake components. These wire coils are electrified by control electronics to magnetize them. The coils then rotate around permanent magnets on the wheel hub.
Using this technique, any kind of engine, differential or driveshaft is unnecessary because this new electric power drives and accelerates the individual wheel. As a consequence, the nominal capacity of the electronic motor is transferred to the road almost without any frictional loss. With the help of a control unit, the power of the hub motors is added to the initial power of the combustion engine. This modification is usually added to the rear axle, turning many vehicles into four-wheel drive cars with the added traction advantages in winter time.
Easybrid supports existing gasoline or diesel engines and produces an additional power of approximately 41hp for improved acceleration and speed. At the same time, the consumption and CO2-levels decrease.
As electric engines are very powerful, their maximum torque is reached after only one revolution. It is therefore possible to move these cars solely on an electric basis. With this retrofit solution, Lorinser not only covers all advantages of modern hybrid acceleration, but allows the driver to choose his operational mode. Apart from the combination of both engines, the driver can opt for either the electric or combustion engine alone. The driver can therefore decide if he wishes to use fuel or electricity or a combination of both.
In order to recharge the lithium-ion batteries for the electric engine, which for space-saving measures are either stored in the spare wheel area or under the vehicle, the car can either be connected to a normal socket or the recharging could be engaged during operation. This means the energy generated during braking and driving downhill recharges the batteries. Therefore, the car can run approximately 18.5 miles solely on electric power and, depending on the model, more than 310 miles with the combined hybrid mode. In combination with modern turbo-diesel engines, even longer distances are possible.
At the Essen Motor Show, Lorinser introduced the first driveable prototype based on a Smart Fortwo with a retrofit hub motor. Further possible models include the VW Polo, Renault Twingo and Fiat 500. Older cars are also suitable and Lorinser will develop solutions for these as well.
Modifying compact cars only makes sense if it's affordable. Therefore, Lorinser has proposed an idea similar to mobile phone companies, where contracts could be introduced, binding a customer to an energy provider, which will own the batteries on a long-term basis. The energy provider could therefore use these battery as storage for vehicle-to-grid concepts, and the driver would rent the batteries with an increased cost from the energy compny. Using this model, Lorinser predicts that mobility will not become cheaper in the future, yet battery prices will drop and fuel prices are certain to increase.
With such a battery financing concept, the modification of a compact car could be reduced to around EUR 5,000 (about $6600).