Friday, October 16, 2009

Tennessee engineers create hybrid ‘motor’

Invention could retrofit vehicles with plug-in for wheels

Nashville Business Journal

by Jeanne Naujeck, Staff Writer

As auto companies race to get viable electric cars to market, some local scholars are taking an express route to making the nation’s fleet more energy efficient.

An invention developed by professors at Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee Tech University doesn’t require Americans to replace their internal combustion powered vehicles.

The Plug-in Hybrid Retrofit Kit would allow car owners to convert their regular autos to hybrid vehicles by retrofitting them with a small electrical system that disappears into the extra space between the brake structure and inside diameter of the rear wheels of most cars. It delivers an extra 10 to 20 horsepower per wheel, kicking in when critical momentum is achieved, giving a “coasting” effect that relieves fuel usage.

“It gives you a virtual downgrade,” said inventor Charles Perry, a former IBM engineer who holds the Russell Chair of Manufacturing Excellence at MTSU. “The 15 horsepower that used to be provided by your engine is now provided by this.”

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