Two Companies Unveiling Large, 100 mpg HEVs

April 21, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

Raser Technologies Inc. and Bright Automotive recently unveiled Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) that they claim will achieve 100 mpg (or more).

Raser unveiled a 100+ mpg Hummer H3 powered by Raser’s plug-in hybrid E-REV (Extended-Range Electric Vehicle). The company developed the 100+ mpg Electric H3 demonstration vehicle working closely with Hummer. Last year, Raser and its development partner FEV Inc., a leading automotive integrator, introduced Raser’s E-REV power train, similar in function to the Chevy Volt but designed for use in a variety of larger full-sized SUVs and light trucks. The vehicle was developed in association with the Plug-in Hybrid Development Consortium, co-founded by Raser along with leading electric utilities, lithium ion battery companies and other automotive technology companies.

The plug-in electric Hummer H3 has a range of about 400 miles, driving its first 40 miles exclusively on batteries before turning on its combustion generator. Most vehicles drive fewer than 40 miles a day, most drivers would rarely use gas and average more than 100 mpg in gas fuel economy over time.

The Electric Hummer H3 is propelled entirely on electricity by Raser’s 200kW advanced ac induction motor connected to a 4WD transmission. A small high efficiency EcoTech engine uses Raser’s 100KW electric generator to recharge the batteries while driving and provides additional electric power when needed.

Bright Automotive unveiled what it describes as the world’s first purpose-built 100 MPG vehicle aimed at commercial and government fleets. Named the IDEA, the multi-use vehicle falls into the light truck classification. The company announced it plans to produce 50,000 vehicles annually by 2013. Bright Automotive recently showed a fully operating concept version of the vehicle to a crowd that included Members of Congress, White House Officials, media, customer and supplier representatives.

Bright Automotive says the IDEA will be 5 to 10 times more efficient than current commercial fleets. The vehicle will save a typical customer more than 1,500 gallons of gasoline and thousands of dollars in fuel costs annually. For the 100 largest fleets in the U.S., each having on average over 1,000 vehicles like the IDEA in their fleet, the savings would average over $3 million a year.

At the same time, each IDEA will reduce emissions and C02 output by up to 16 tons each year over competing vehicles. A key reason for such high efficiency is vehicle weight and aerodynamics: the curb weight target for the IDEA is 3200 pounds – 1500 pounds less than the average competitor with a 0.30 Coefficient of drag (Cd).

On a full charge, the IDEA uses battery power for the first 30 miles, using little or no gasoline and less than $1 of electricity. After this, it functions like other hybrids. As an example of fuel efficiency, for commercial customers with a 50-mile daily urban route, the IDEA uses about 1/2 gallon of gas, which is equivalent to getting 100 mpg. For a 70 mile daily driver, 1 gallon of gas is used, similar to 70 mpg.

High volume production of the IDEA will begin in the U.S. by the end of 2012 – with an annual run rate of 50,000 units beginning in 2013. To produce its vehicle, the company plans to create over 5,000 jobs – directly and through suppliers – by 2013.