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My Prius is going AWD ;) Plug-in hybrid retrofit kit

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by R-P, Aug 8, 2012.

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  1. R-P

    R-P Member

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    Must be found by others, but searching MTSU didn't wield results... So if it is a repost, I sincerely apologize.

    So AWD Prius, here I come, saves me from buying an RX450h :p


  2. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    Saw this on Fox. It would be interesting to see what this does to Prius MPG.
  3. Tim Bender

    Tim Bender Member

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    Really - great video. Just wish they would've showed some action shots.
  4. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    He doesn't ever mention rear brakes or regeneration.
  5. SuperGLS

    SuperGLS Member

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    Interesting. Also didn't mention what type of plug-in components you would need (110, 220, types of cables, etc.)
  6. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    It is not AWD in any useful sense, as you have no ability to control when the rear wheels add power.

  7. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    Also I find the doubling of mileage an incredible claim I don't believe except in limited scenarios. A 20 HP boost from electric won't double the range of an accord in the city.

    I assume this simply identifies the wheels speeding up and then adds its own energy and when they start to slow, from brakes, it then decides it's time to regen. I guess it does neither unless the change in speed is clearly enough that the driver intends to speed up or slow down.
  8. R-P

    R-P Member

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    You're adding energy between fill-ups, so imagining a scenario where the mileage gets doubled isn't that difficult imho.

    And as for AWD, that was a joke :ROFLMAO: I have an AWD Volvo for the 2 days a year we get snow here :D For my FWD 3500kg camper with rear brake drums on the other hand...
  9. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    I doubt he is using prius type regen braking. That would have made it a much more complicated control algorithm, and he would have discussed that. It may be that when the foot is off the accelerator under a certain speed the motors do a small recharge of the batteries. It was unclear if they do any regen at all.



    He is simply supplementing the engin power with grid power. It is easy to imagine that in his scenario of under 40 miles under 45 mph, that these motors and battery can supply half the power.



    I think getting the accelerator position is easier and more effective, than adding new sensors to the system. They didn't say what they used, but that is what I would use.



    Its an experimental prototype designed to be an inespensive system. I assume that 110 is fine, if people start installing kits and recharging at night. They hadn't sized the battery yet, but I imagine a full charge is less than 7 kwh if his goal is blended range of 40 miles at low maximum power.



    But it does beg the question on these PHEVs, why not inexpensive through the road 4wd. Volvo is the only one about to try it. It might help in slippery situations and doesn't look all that expensive to add. You already have the big battery, and the ecu interpreting accelerator input, as well as sensors for traction control. All that needs to be added is 1 or 2 motors, an inverter, and another ecu with control logic. It might even make the car more efficient as it could use the rear axle for regenerative braking.
  10. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    If it's any indication - the difference in MPG between a standard AWD V6 RX and the FWD RX V6 is about 2 mpg . . . . whether you're talking city / highway - or blended MPG's. Sor - for a Prius - having appx double the MPG of the RX you would likely drop from an EPA of 50mpg to 46mpg.

    The thing is - the OP is NOT saving from buying a RX-450h. In fact, you wouldn't even be able to (apples to apples) compare the conversion to the hy-hi version. The hy-hi & RX have HUGE hybrid warranties, for one. The youtube vid shows a HUGE battery that wipes out the trunk space of the '94 Honda that it's installed in . . . . which undoubtedly gives the Honda better range by having a trunk-sized traction pack. But then the research group touts a smaller battery - w/out saying how much its range gets killed - in comparison to the mongo sized traction pack. Just sayin' . . . . . ya gotta pay the piper. In addition, as JimboPalmer says ... this kit it NOT a 4wd in any sense of the word. In fact, even the Hy-Hi and RX AWD systems are not 4wd in any sense of the word. Neither has ANY drive line that connects the rear & front drive systems. The rear is simply an assist EV system, that gives a bit more power, in the event that you;
    A- loose traction
    B- need more powah -

    Toyota's quasi awd synergy drive does not allow you to select 4wd at any time you want - or do away with it, when ever you want. But, Toyota Lexus's AWD system DOES actually benefit more than the home brew system they're describing . . . . in the Lexus/Toyota setup, you actually get regen from both front and rear drive systems. Home brew only gets you regen (theoretically) on the rear wheels that it's designed for. All that said - it's showing a lot of creative thinking on the part of the school and its faculty. I think it's just the OP that's making more of it than it really is.
    .
  11. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    I think you missed his emoticon in the OP and his reply in #8.

    I found a better explanation and picture here:

    Tennessee College Plug-In Hybrid Concept Seeking Commercial Backing | Hybrid Cars

    that shows the rear drum brakes remain intact so that answers my question about that but still not sure about rear disk brake cars or if regen is viable in this design.
    R-P likes this.
  12. JamesBurke

    JamesBurke Active Member

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    Hub Motors for All-Electric Vehicles Still Have Some Technological Challenges to Overcome | Machine Design
    A look at the advantages of hub motors, as well as the disadvantages and how engineers plan to overcome them.

    "The idea has been around almost as long as the automobile, In fact, Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the famed German auto company, mounted a pair of hub motors that used electricity from a gas-powered generator on a car back in 1900."
    "Hub motors have been around for more than a century, and the fact they haven’t caught on speaks for itself. "
    "The major challenge facing hub motors is the issue of unsprung weight. "
    '
    Sure the e-assist helps but the ICE still has to run all the time. Need to add electric brakes and steering for this to show its full potential. or just buy a Prius
  13. 2sk21

    2sk21 Member

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    One more problem I see is that the unspring weight has greatly increased for the rear wheels due to the motors. Surely this will have some serious impact on handling?
  14. vertex

    vertex Active Member

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    I would love to get a pair of the motors, but not the control electronics. Regen should be possible, but we would need to be careful not to disturb the Prius regen operation. Also, the drive could be controled so that it does most of the work and the Prius stays in EV mode without draining its battery too much.
  15. vertex

    vertex Active Member

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  16. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    It would hurt ride quality not handling. Handling may actually be improved in certain situations if done well. Its also a bad solution for the Prius :), but may work well on an old Camry.



    They aren't a competitor. MSTU is all about retro-fitting motors on existing cars and substituting plug electricity for gasoline. They have found what may be a low cost solution to making an old ice car a phev.

    The Protean guy is talking about using the motors in new designs. He is absolutely right, ride quality issues can be addressed with suspension changes. The weight of the motors will be 62 kg per axis, with 162 kw per axis which is much more than the prius. Downsizing to the 16kw per axis of MSTU motors could be pretty light.

    For a 4wd plug in prius, the phv would be a good base with the addition of a rear axis motor of 40kw and control electronics. Toyota likely would use a single motor to save costs and lower parts count.
  17. vertex

    vertex Active Member

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    I agree, they are not direct competitors, but they have competing technologies. All automakers are competitors, as are other forms of transportation.