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PowerPedia:Hybrid Adapter

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A Hybrid Adapter attached to a Lincoln Navigator
A Hybrid Adapter attached to a Lincoln Navigator

A hybrid adapter, or HYBRAD, is a device which turns any single fuel passenger class vehicle into a multi-fuel / hybrid vehicle. One example is a hybrid adapter that simply plugs into the back of your vehicle and pushes it. Hybrid adapters run simultaneously, or in parallel, with your existing drivetrain. HYBRADS still fall in the realm of DIY Hybrids, as there is no commercially available option.

Contents

Categories

Hybrid adapters can be internal or external and can have one or more power sources.

  • Hybrad Category I – The hybrid adapter is completely integrated into the vehicle and may run in parallel or in series with the existing drivetrain. The electrocharger and the Poulsen Hybrid are examples of a Cat I hybrid adapter.
    The Hoff Hybrid Adapter attached to the belt of a Ford Explorer
    The Hoff Hybrid Adapter attached to the belt of a Ford Explorer


  • Hybrad Category II – The hybrid adapter is completely integrated into the vehicle and runs in parallel with the existing drivetrain. The Cat II has its own wheel in contact with the road surface. The E-Wheelsystem is an example of a Cat II hybrid adapter.
  • Hybrad Category III – The hybrid adapter is an easily removed option for the vehicle and runs in parallel with the existing drivetrain. The Cat III has it own wheel in contact with the road surface. The Voyager Concept III system is an early example. Rinspeed has a new attempt called the Backpack.


Fuel Types

Any source can be used to power a hybrid adapter. Ratio of system weight to power delivered should be considered. Electric, ethanol,bio-diesel, fuel cells, hydrogen, compressed air, natural gas or various other alternative sources are all reasonable options. If you have an electric vehicle, a Cat III HYBRAD can be plugged in to your reese type hitch – and your electric car becomes a hybrid. This has been done using gasoline as fuel and has been called a pusher-trailer.

The hybrid adapter eliminates the need for electric vehicle conversion. Electric versions of HYBRAD can fall into the category of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle – as it can plug into the power grid for a recharge. However, a generator could be placed on a HYBRAD to keep the onboard batteries charged.

A Hybrid adapter could be a hybrid in itself, having both an electric drive as well as a drived powered by an additional fuel.

Overall Benefits

Less money spent on gasoline
A large safe vehicle
A more environmentally friendly automobile, SUV, or light truck
Extended range if you drive a hybrid or electric car already

External HYBRAD Benefits

A 3 View diagram of the battery powered version Hybrid Adapter
A 3 View diagram of the battery powered version Hybrid Adapter

Also called a 5th wheel or Pusher:
Are easily removed from existing vehicle and can be shared among /swapped between vehicle
A testbed for new drivetrains, fuel sources
Greater stopping power if using the electric HYBRAD with regenerative braking
Extra crumple zone behind your vehicle increases safety.
Ultrasonic backup sensors can be outfitted
The HYBRAD system is scalable, both financially and physically
Existing hybrid manufactures can easily build to sell to the mass market

Disadvantages

More Maintenance
Parking can be a problem in congested areas for external HYBRADs, but could be alleviated if the device could pivot 90 degrees and stow flush with the rear of the vehicle.

Vehicle Requirements

For internally mounted hybrid adapters,available space is the major issue

For externally mounted hybrid adapters, a reese hitch installed on the rear of your vehicle. Many SUVs and trucks have these mounted already. Aftermarket installation kits are readily available for small passenger as well as SUVs and light trucks. These kits are very inexpensive.

Safety Considerations

The physical connection between an external HYBRAD and the Reese hitch should have a relatively low sheer strength to help prevent damage to the vehicle frame in the event of a rear-end collision. Hybrid adapters have their own safety bumper

Control Interface

  • Control signals could be sent to the external hybrid adapter by using the lights, directionals, and brakes. For example, to turn the device off the left blinker is selected followed by turning the lights on and off twice all within 8 seconds. The HYBRAD control interface reads these signals via the standard connector attached to the hitch. Different messages are sent to stow the unit, turn the unit on, and of course applying the brakes puts the unit in standby.
  • Of course a wireless system could be used, highly directional antennas between the vehicle and external HYBRAD could be used to reduce interference. Hardwired connection to the hitch would still be necessary for safety.

Hybrid Adapter Construction

Some great reference material for building the electric HYBRAD versions can be found at the DIY electric car wiki & the electric vehicle conversionwikipedia page.

Motivation

Of course a greener transport is the motivation for building a Hybrid Adapter, but this image is what inspired the Cat III Hybrid Adapter.

A Piqua Concrete truck with the engine in the rear of the vehicle
A Piqua Concrete truck with the engine in the rear of the vehicle

On Going Projects & Related Links

See also

ELECTRIC VEHICLES FOOTER

FUEL EFFICIENCY

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