I have an 2000 Oldsmobile Bravada that is paid off and in good condition. Due to the price of gas, I have recently done some reading about hybird electric conversion kits that can supposedly be added to any car made after 1996. It sounds like such a good idea that I am suspicious! Do you think this is a good idea and would you attempt this if it were your car? My husband is mechanically inclined and could probably do the work himself, but we can’t find any real data that isn’t produced by the people selling the kits to help decide if this is a good idea. What do you think?
Have your husband take a look at the technology of a Prius, and have him look at a schematic of the layout of all of the various devices and wiring that connects all of the components. And then have him ask himself two questions:
Can an aftermarket company possibly produce a kit that would reliably allow the existing gasoline engine to cut in and out at will, swapping power seamlessly with an electric drive system?
Is he capable of installing all of the technology that would go into this system?
The likely answer to the above questions (at least the first one) is NO.
My suggestion is to save your money, keep the Bravada well-maintained, drive with economy in mind, and then, in 2010, when the new Blue-Tech diesel vehicles are widely available in the US from several different car companies, buy one of these vehicles.
The reports from Europe, where the Blue Tech technology is already available, is that cars like the Accord and the Outback are regularly achieving 50+ mpg, with acceleration at least equal to, if not better than, comparable cars with gasoline engines. These types of mpg figures are far superior to what a Bravada would be able to achieve, even if that aftermarket system worked perfectly–and it is not likely to work well.
Some conversion kits are just an electric motor and batteries. To gain the full benefit a sophisticated regenerative braking system is needed. If only short trips are made, a simple battery system may be sufficient.
It’s a scam, pure and simple.