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Invention to Turn Any Car Into a Hybrid

Is it possible to be a Car Talk cheapskate and an innovative tree hugger at the same time? If you go to http://ide…urn-Any-Ca you will see an invention to turn any car into a hybrid by attaching an automotive vehicle pusher. It has the potential to double your car’s mileage through a 35 mile battery range at speeds up to 45mph. Studies by the Bureau of Transportation and Statistics show that most consumers have a total trip distance of less than 30 miles per day. You can register and vote for this invention as the best idea of the month. This invention would be especially useful for our fellow Car Talkers who delight in preserving our cars (my '97 Prism/“Cloned Corolla”) till death do us part, as used cars out pace new cars sales by nearly 3 to 1 (soon to be more in this economy). This device can be interchanged among an entire family?s vehicles and takes only five minutes to attach and there are no permanent modifications to your existing vehicle.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. No info on the web site, no picture, nothing but a guy driving a Taurus station wagon on cruise control. Given the size of the motor/batteries/etc needed for a Prius, I smell BOOOOOGUS!

Hi texases!
Not bogus. Check out the inventor’s website at
These are serious engineers and the concept is an attachment which helps push the vehicle from behind and it’s not for speeds above 45 m.p.h. and distances over 35 miles. We’re not talking HHO bogus or anything like that and it’s sure must be cheaper than a Prius. Earlier this month this invention was awarded second prize in the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s New Venture Challenge.

I don’t buy it for a second. In order to store enough energy to push a regular car around for 35 miles at 45 mph, you need a very big battery. Consider how big the battery pack is on a Prius, and those are the most advanced batteries that are economically viable and they can only propel the somewhat dinky Prius a half mile or so on only electric power.

I don’t know what kind of battery this thing supposedly uses (seeing as how nowhere on the website do we get to actually SEE the device), but I see no way the dinky little thing they’re implying could do what they’re saying.

And, not to offend anyone if there’s any Alma-matter here, but the University of Alabama is not exactly MIT and the “challenge” they won seems to have been some sort of online poll, not any sort of professionally reviewed affair.

Where does it say it was designed by engineers?? This is ALL marketing…no engineering data what-so-ever. Sorry…this doesn’t pass the simple smell test.

My comments were based on reviewing the web site (which tried to hijack my browser, by the way!). Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING there.

The other major part that’s missing…is Hybrid technology relies heavily on regenerative breaking to achieve it’s high MPG’s. This system does NOT. So I don’t see how it could even come close to the hybrid technology in gas mileage. But they obviously have at least one FOOL believing it.

I, too, think that this is very impractical, but I think you are being a little unfair. It doesn’t say that this thing will push a car 35 miles by itself. It says that it will assist the gas engine in the car for up to 35 miles, thereby giving the car better gas mileage. Depending on how much they are assisting, a battery charge could easily last for 35 miles.
The biggest problems I see are:

  1. Battery life will probably be short. The Prius gets good battery life by only using 10% of the charge of the battery. I’ll bet this thing uses 90%.
  2. How many people will be willing to go everywhere with this thing attached behind their car.
  3. What will parking be like? Not many places have parking for cars with trailers.
  4. It has to know when to push, and how hard to push. It will have to interface correctly to all sorts of different cars to get this information. It would need to know transmission status, gas pedal status, and braking status.
  5. If anyone ever produces this, they will be wiped out after the first wreck someone has while using it, if they sue. It won’t matter if the device is at fault if they can claim that it somehow contributed to the accident. (“I was trying to stop, but that thing kept pushing me forward.”)

I think that what they want you to do is to forget about the electricity that you have to pay for each day to recharge it.

BTW, I have wondered about this. If we do get all electric cars, won’t they have to add so kind of per mile tax to them to make up for the taxes lost on gas?