1998-08-11

Design and Operational Experience of a Practical Hybrid EV 981903

We describe here a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) built by the American Electric Automobile Company (AEAC) and operated on a daily basis. The HEV was chosen over a pure electric vehicle (EV) to address the most common problems with electric vehicles: their limited range and long charging times. For example, a frequent question from potential EV buyers is: “What happens if my batteries run down while I'm on the freeway?” In order to be a viable concept at an acceptable price, this HEV design emphasized off-the-shelf components whenever possible. Furthermore, for similar considerations, a series hybrid design was utilized. The characteristics of this HEV will be described which include the platform (a 1985 VW Cabriolet) and the internal combustion power plant (a 9kVA Dyna generator powered by a 16 HP engine). This HEV has been operated for 2 years and has accumulated 24,000 km under actual driving conditions. During this evaluation period, several problems were identified and solved. The operation of this HEV, performance characteristics, and the cost effectiveness of the hybrid electric vehicle compared to pure electric vehicles will be presented. Also discussed are solutions to the problem of how HEV vehicles may overcome a psychological barrier to EV use.

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