Robert Q. Riley Enterprises Making Plans for "Do-It-Yourself” Plug-in Hybrid

March 22, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC, a product design firm in Glendale, Arizona, announced that it will introduce its XR-3 plug-in hybrid, a sleek two-passenger, three-wheel sports car that is expected to generate up to 225 mpg. Designed to be assembled by someone with average mechanical abilities and no prior experience, the all-wheel drive vehicle will be available as a kit or plans for complete do-it-yourself construction.

"We’ve made a technology leap by designing a super-simple hybrid power system, but ’technology’ itself was not the main thrust of the project," said Robert Q. Riley, company President and author of Alternative Cars in the 21st Century. "We focused on the power of ‘design’ to define a new category of personal mobility products that are neither automobiles nor motorcycles."

The XR-3 is claimed to use the latest hybrid power system technologies in the most simplified way possible. While the front wheels are powered by a three-cylinder diesel engine, a single rear wheel uses an electric motor run by a lithium-ion battery. The ground provides the connection between the two systems, eliminating the need for a complex electronic and mechanical interface. Driving on power from its diesel engine, the XR-3 can achieve fuel economy of 125 mpg. However, when the diesel and electric power systems are combined in a hybrid driving mode, fuel economy can exceed 200 mpg over an 80-mile trip.

A simple three-position switch allows the driver to select between battery-only, diesel-only and hybrid driving modes. The diesel engine can remain off for local trips, since power from the advanced lithium-ion battery pack gives the car a battery-only range of up to 40 miles.