Thursday, September 15, 2011

An eco-gadget for your car

If you’re looking for the ultimate eco-friendly gadget for your car, you might want to buy a hybrid conversion kit. Hybrids are great on fuel economy and produce lower emissions, so by converting your car to a hybrid you’ll be saving money and making a commitment to protect the environment. Hybrids achieve better fuel consumption through the use of an electric motor that assists the engine during acceleration. The motor is charged through a process called regenerative braking – as the driver brakes, excess energy is stored in the motor’s battery.

Driving road
Photo: epSos.de

If you already own a hybrid, you can still shop around for gadgets for it, including a conversion kit to make your charge-maintaining hybrid a plug-in hybrid.


When a plug-in hybrid runs in all-electric mode (without the engine), the cost to power it is less than a quarter of the cost of running the same vehicle on petrol. There’s the added advantage of reducing air pollution and saving money on fuel.

Apparently, it’s not too complicated to convert an existing hybrid to a plug-in hybrid, but it’s not generally recommended as something to try at home. To do the conversion, the vehicle’s battery pack capacity is increased and an on-board AC-to-DC charger is added. The powertrain software can also be reprogrammed (probably why it’s not recommended to do this yourself!) so that full use can be made of the additional storage energy and power output of the battery pack.

Honda CR-Z Hybrid
Photo: kenjonbro

There are plenty of conversion kits available for hybrid cars, UK customers will find plenty of companies that both sell and fit the kits. And there are more types of conversion kit coming out all the time. In the US, the Motor Industry Research Association has recently produced a different kind of hybrid conversion kit with removable battery packs that the owner simply plugs into a wall outlet for charging.

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