Why your current vehicle is a hybrid already

A plugless rechargeable battery could be fitted to your existing car to save 61 per cent of fuel costs and reduce emissions by 39 per cent, it has been announced today. The recharging occurs once the engine is running, or it is possible to charge it from the mains overnight.

The Hybrid 4-wheel drive (H4V) vehicle has been developed under the government’s Energy Saving Trust’s Low Carbon research and development programme, funded by the Department for Transport. The technology has been developed by MIRA.

Derek Charters, MIRA’s advanced powertrain manager, explains: "Despite advances in powertrain technology you can still obtain electricity from your domestic provider far cheaper and greener than you can produce it via an automotive combustion engine, so ‘plug-in’ hybrids make sense.

"With this project we’ve removed the primary limitation of the ‘plug-in hybrid’ concept by allowing the battery pack to come to the mains, rather than having to park right next to a socket …which is more than a little difficult if you live in a terraced house or flat. MIRA’s hybrid vision is to lower tailpipe emissions and deliver better fuel efficiency than an equivalent diesel."

The technology has been fitted to a Skoda Fabia – although the choice of vehicle is not significant – but the engine has had to be re-tuned.

The technology mimics that which had previously only been fitted to concept cars.


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