Monday, December 18, 2006

The road to EV future: the series hybrid already arrived

… to fleet vehicles of course. The auto community is highly anticipating the series hybrid concept that GM promised to show in Detroit. Series hybrids are very interesting because these are essentially EVs where the only function of the internal combustion engine (ICE) is to recharge the batteries. A very small generator can thus be used, working in the most efficient conditions and providing significant range extension. Want to know more about series hybrids? Check this link.

However we have just find out that serial hybrids are already available. French company
Cleanova has been testing their own system where a small 40kW engine is mainly used as generator although it can also provide assistance to the electric engine. Used with lithium-ion batteries the system provides up to 200km of autonomy (in full-electric mode) and maximum speed of 130km/h. In the mode “hybride a predominance électrique” the system provides unlimited autonomy as long as you can find fuel for the ICE-generator (BTW, it accepts gasoline or bio-ethanol).

The system is being tested by fleets of French companies (EDF and La Poste) and is expected to be available for public sale in 2008. The current test vehicle is based on the Renault Kangoo although, hopefully, in can be commercialized in the future with more attractive vehicles. Incidentally the Renault Kangoo keeps the same cargo-space as the original ICE version which is indicative of the maturity of Cleanova’s hybrid system.

We wish the best to Cleanova although in reality we would like to see a collaboration with PSA or Renault in order to make available in the future this kind of vehicles from major manufacturers. Until then just check how nice this sounds: hybride a predominance électrique

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