Hybrid Vehicle Retrofit Market Set to Grow

Most of us already have cars, so buying a hybrid or fully electric car will have to wait a few years ± or does it? According to Protean Electric, it­s easier and cheaper than you think and the company expects that an increasing number of vehicle owners will choose this option in future.


The company manufactures an in-wheel electric drive system that can be fitted to the rear axle of any light duty vehicle to turn it into a hybrid in a matter of a few hours.


Ken Stewart, Protean­s vice president of marketing and sales, was recently a guest speaker at the Hybrid, Electric and High Efficiency Truck Users Forum. He expects that demand for the company­s hybrid system will come mainly from commercial fleets and government departments ± a market of nearly 1.5 million vehicles in the US alone.


The company­s in-wheel drive system develops up to 110bhp. An inverter controller is built into each of the motors, making it self-contained. This means the system uses less space than similar systems.


The new system is expected to become very popular with fleet owners as it can be fitted to a wide range of vehicles. It has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by nearly one third, depending on the driving cycle and the size of the battery. Another benefit is that it will prolong the life of the vehicle­s internal combustion engine.


Retro-fitting such a system would enable fleet owners to gain all the benefits of a hybrid system without the need to purchase new vehicles.

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