Mobility & TransportRecycling

Retrofit diesel car, how to turn it into a hybrid

Towards a hybrid car kit for less than 3,000 euros

The technologies for the Retrofit of diesel or petrol cars represent one of the possibilities to switch to a more environmentally friendly vehicle without necessarily spending large sums. Kits for the redevelopment of vehicles with internal combustion engines have been on the market for several years, an operation that in some countries, including Italy, is supported by ad hoc incentives for electric retrofit. Do they agree? It depends on the car and its use. The cost of such interventions can vary from a base of about 6,000 euros in the case of small cars, to 35 thousand euros for large-capacity vehicles.

But on the market could come soon an even cheaper kit, able to transform your old car ICE into an electric hybrid at a price below 3,000 euros and in the time of half a day. This is at least the premise of the REVR technology, developed by RMIT University design student Alexander Burton, and winner of the Australian James Dyson Award 2023.

Retrofit diesel car, how does REVR work

REVR stands for Rapid Electric Vehicle Retrofit and represents a package of components for the rapid retrofit of diesel or gasoline cars. Compared to the most common electrical requalification processes, which involve the removal of the internal combustion engine and all associated components (gearbox, brakes, etc.), the REVR kit focuses on “simplicity“.

The process in this case is driven by additions rather than subtractions. The system designed by Burton involves the insertion of a flat motor of 50 kW, high power density and liquid-cooled, between the rear wheels of the car and the disc brakes. It is an axial flow electric motor – one of the new e-mobility trends – easy to install even for non-experts. “Because the disc brake and wheel are mounted on the engine rotor and are therefore free to turn, the car’s original axle and systems, hydraulic braking and ICE are still capable of working,” explains the young designer on the website James Dyson Award.

Patent pending

The REVR system is completed with a 15 kWh battery pack and a controller to be placed in the spare wheel compartment or in the luggage compartment. Under the hood would be installed some electrical enhancements to operating elements such as air conditioning and heating.

read also Electric cars in the EU, for the 1st time EVs beat diesel

Well understood: the kit retrofit of diesel cars in hybrid cars is still at an early stage. Burton is waiting to register the patent and is currently testing the V1 prototype. And several unknowns must be solved starting with the switch between the two types of power supply. But the goal is clear: “I want to create a toolkit for converting electric vehicles that can be applied to any ICE vehicle and also implemented with minimal specialist knowledge”.

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