// Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?
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  1. #1

    Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?

    I love my car and I just paid it off (finally). Unfortunately - I'd much rather be driving a hybrid. Is there any way that a gasoline car can be converted into a hybrid?

    I figure that there must be a think tank out there working on this problem right now, and wondering if anyone has any information on the work being done and the progress.

    It seems like a great solution, if it can be done. I mean, hybrid sounds great but then there is the question of what to do with the billions, and billions of normal cars on the planet.

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  3. #2

    Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?

    It's not a stupid question - it's an ignorant question. (And I mean that in the technical / nice way: Ignorance is curable, stupidity is forever.)

    Yes, you could take the gasoline motor out of your car and put in an electric motor out of a forklift or a jet engine starter cart or whatever. And yes, you could take out your gas tank and put a few thousand pounds of batteries. (You'd need a new suspension, by the way.) And yes, you could put in a smaller gas engine and connect everything mechanically together to make it a "hybrid." But do you have the design capabilities and the construction capabilities and the installation capabilities to carry it off? And do you have the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would take if you don't have those capabilities and you have to hire somebody else? And do you have the time to do all that work?

    Or would it be cheaper and easier to just buy a athybrid that somebody has already done all the work on?

    This reminds me of the boating adage "If you want to build a boat, build a boat; if you want to go boating, buy a boat."

  4. #3

    Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?

    Converting a common gasoline powered vehicle to a hybrid by removing the existing motor and replacing it with a hybrid motor does not make good economic sense. Converting completely to electric is practical and well-documented, but present battery technology will limit the vehicle to a short-hop commuter car. However, I am working on an idea to add small electric motors/generators to the rear wheels of my front-wheel drive Saturn SW1. This will be for supplementary power only, but I think it might boost fuel economy from my present average of 36 MPG to possibly 50 MPG, and I think I can do it for a total parts cost of maybe $2000. In quantity, kits could be made which could be installed in less than a day. Two bonuses: four wheel drive and an emergency propulsion system if the gas engine dies.

  5. #4

    Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?

    Another point to mention in conversion, besides adding an electric engine & battery bank would be that the Hybrids are designed from the start to be economical in other ways. They're designed with better aerodynamic lines, lower rolling resistance tires, and gear boxes/computers that optimize rpms/fuel usage/power needs.
    unless you're already a custom car builder and have the shop and the know-how, it's just not financially feasable to build one, compared to buying a stock hybrid car. Then if you did have the custom shop- it would be like the shoe-makers kids, you wouldn't have the time to take from paying work to do your private project.

  6. #5

    Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?

    I was thinking the same thing recently, too, then I saw an ad for a Civic DX that had a Civic VX (51 MPG) motor in it. That's only slightly worse mileage than a Prius.


    A reconditioned Civic VX motor costs about $1500, minus what they'd give you for your old motor (assume $300) - then add in labor.

    I'm an idiot with mechanical things, so I don't know if other parts of the car would have to be modified to accomodate something like that. Perhaps someone here with that kind of knowledge can educate us about it.

    You could also pick up a VX, a Civic CRX HF, or similar 50+ MPG vehicles pretty cheaply, though tuners are fond of the VX (which both drives up the prices and makes non-modified versions a little hard to find).

    The only drawback with those motors is that their emissions will be worse than a SULEV.

  7. #6

    Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?


    It is true what you say...

    "It's not a stupid question" ..."Ignorance is curable, stupidity is forever."

    Passion is another of those things that may just be forever if cynicism and sarcasm don't kill it! And as for ignorance: could that not be a mere matter of perspective - image not having all the details, a full grasp of all the relevant information. It would be terribly unfortunate if one were to berate others before understanding the complete situation

    And as few steve (see Topic: Hybrid Conversions for older vehicles?), "~ time for a new car! besides, a new car carries newer safety elements, new smell, new technology in general."

    Again, true steve - new safety features are great. New technology is what we are all trying to adopt here. New Smell? funny! but a REALLY good point - cars ARE more than the engine!

    and here is the problem - some of us would love to see something other than the run-of-the-mill standard look-like-everyone-else product that drives off 99% of car lots.

    Personally, I drive a 1957 MGA, a car of undoubted character (even if i do say so myself and i AM prepared to argue the point!) it is however a car whose days are number based on its original drive system.

    and i can hear the arguement: "the dinosaurs died out for a reason." i would argue that the dinosaurs may have died out but here we are still talking about them - and if there was a jurassic park, who wouldn't want to drop in for a look!

    the ultimate goal here is to save some history without retiring it to a museum. and if there is a way - could someone other than paul or steve let us know about it!

  8. #7

    Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?

    Of course we all want to preserve the cruising tradition and the character of classic automobiles. Cearly though, petrol products will be something to be collected as well. Frankly I don't like to think about fueling my 1920's model steam engine with a Mickey Mantle baseball card, so surely there must be another way.

    An electric conversion can be done for as little as $2,000 in some cases. While regenerative braking and many of the other fine features that today's efficiently designed Hybrid cars offer are in many cases beyond the scope of any conversion, an electric system may be installed and a generator may be included in the installation.

    Granted such a conversion is wholly unexplored and simply put, due for some Frankensteinian complications I'm sure, however, let not the Nay-Sayers say Ne! Many electric conversion owners have supplemented their vehicles with solar panels, and a petrol powered generator is along very similar lines. Just keep in mind that you may have to sacrafice the rumble seat.

  9. #8

    Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?

    you don't have to have a high tech. shop to work on new things. You just have to be the shade tree worker of to day. All you have to do is some reserch and thinking and it could take you to the new thing of today. people that want to convert there gas cars to hybrids don't want the new look, or the high econmcal valus, they just want to be abl to drive there once new age car of yesterday. Me I drive a 82 elcamno, there is nothing like it out now. that is why I like it. I am just a guy with 2 years of auto. tech. and a open mind. I am just trying to figure out a why I can drive my own littel peice of history.

    So, all of you that say that it can't be done cost effetavly keep a open eye and mind out for me. I will do it. Just so that I can drive my "dinasor"

  10. #9

    Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?

    If you have a BSEE degree then building a hybrid car is a piece of cake.. ( I am going for my BSEE degree).

  11. #10

    Sutpid Question #108: Convert to hybrid?

    Paul sounds like a lobbyist for the hybrid car manufacturers. Adding smaller motors to a gasoline powered car to augment its power shouldn't take "thousands of pounds" of batteries. Not even fully electric cars require that much weight in batteries. There should be a system that combines both batteries and lighter super capacitors and required controllers to augment a gasoline engine without costing "hundreds of thousands of dollars" or "thousands of pounds of weight". Hell, I'll build one. Anyone want to help?

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