Hybrid car technology gets smart


26 Nov 2007

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The fruits of over 30 years of research into fuel-efficient vehicles have produced a super-intelligent hybrid car with a variable transmission that calculates the most efficient power ratio and gets rid of the need for gear shifting.

Developed by Professor Andy Frank, a professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering at the University of California Davis (UC Davis), the technology has been licensed to Efficient Drivetrains Inc (EDI) which plans to go into partnership with car manufacturers and designers to get this innovative technology on the road.

The most important feature of this hybrid car is its ‘plug-in’ feature: the ability to charge the car’s batteries from a home power supply, making the concept of owning a hybrid car more accessible to the average consumer.

Frank has also advised award-winning UC Davis students who took part in several hybrid technology competitions including FutureCar and FutureTruck.

Currently Toyota, Honda and Ford all have a hybrid electric/petrol car available but the fuel efficiencies from EDI’s new technology would be a significant improvement, according to Frank’s research.

Green auto technology is high up on the list of most car manufacturers’ agendas with the theme dominating a recent US international auto show.

Chevrolet’s theme was ‘From gas friendly to gas-free’, while Toyota was concentrating on biofuels and carried out green technology quizzes.

The Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius are two of the hybrid technology cars currently on sale in Ireland.

By Marie Boran