A group of five Middle Tennessee State University students and their engineering professor, Dr. Charles Perry, are seeking to transition their bolt-on plug-in hybrid system from a proven concept in the field to a commercially viable product.
An un-named backer has stepped forward with reportedly strong support to see the idea through for fleet use initially.
The system is estimated to add maybe $3,000 to the cost of a vehicle and could be used around town to augment mileage by at least 50 percent, if not run in all-electric mode for 100-percent fuel savings.
Perry holds the Russell Chair of Manufacturing, and has previously come up with 40 patented ideas while working 28 years for IBM.
“The whole point was to demonstrate the feasibility of adding the electrical motor to the rear wheel of the car without changing the brakes, bearings, suspension – anything mechanical,” Perry said.
The Honda test mule uses lithium-ion batteries to drive two 200-pound-feet torque three-phase DC brushless permanent magnet motors on the rear wheels that are much like the Protean motors reported yesterday, and which in fact are a very old idea dating back to the early 20th century, and now revived.
This iteration of the wheel-hub motor concept is distinguished by a very svelte design that is integrated as part of the rear-wheel’s brake hub, and “visually transparent” from the outside of the mounted wheel. As you’d expect, the size of battery required would depend on applications.
His financial backer is “totally committed to us,” he said, and will accompany him on presentations seeking further support.
“We have gained proof of concept in terms of feasibility,” he said. “We need quite a bit of money to have proof of product. What we’ve achieved is a demonstrated technology, not a proven technology. Investors want to see proven field-tested performance and reliability. We have to pass through this transition, from feasibility to true, viable product.”