Do we really need a “new kind of hybrid?” Perhaps we do, since most people complain about two things in current hybrid vehicle technology.
First, hybrid vehicles are typically less-powerful, leading to a reduction in the all-important fun-to-drive quotient. Second, hybrid vehicles are usually thousands of dollars more than their conventional counterparts. True, you’ll save money on fuel, but it’ll take years to recoup the upfront costs from just buying the car in the first place. As a result, hybrid vehicles don’t sell as well as they could, and the nation’s average fuel economy isn’t rising as fast as it could.
Could a new kind of hybrid change all of that? Jay Leno, on his show, Jay Leno’s Garage, spent a few minutes with Tom Apostolos, Ricardo Americas President, talking about Ricardo HyBoost technology. Considering that the technology is more affordable and more fun-to-drive, Jay Leno says this “could be the future of hybrid.” So, what makes Ricardo HyBoost better than current hybrid technology?
First, in the Ford Focus light-hybrid demonstrator, they pulled the stock 2.0 ℓ inline-four-cylinder engine and replaced it with a 1.1 ℓ dual-boosted engine. Like the 1.0 ℓ EcoBoost, the 1.1 ℓ HyBoost uses a turbocharger to boost power and, with the addition of an electric supercharger, there is no turbo-lag as in the EcoBoost. The reduction to 1.1 ℓ, as well as the addition of a 24 V supercapacitor engine start-stop. the result, in a non-plug-in hybrid is an astounding increase in fuel economy, from the stock 32 mpg to 60 mpg. Interestingly, all the technology in the Ricardo HyBoost is existing technology, and is expected to add just $1,100 to the build cost of the vehicle.
Image © Jay Leno’s Garage