Easybrid Uses Hub Motor To Go Hybrid

We’ve seen top-brand bicycles converted to electric power by using hub motors. But cars? That’s what the German company Sportservice Lorinser is aiming for with the Easybrid, which it says can turn small cars with rear drum brakes into plug-in hybrids — easily — and recently demonstrated the development on a prototype Smart Fortwo at the Essen Motor Show.

Hub motors on cars have actually been toyed with for a while; Michelin made a bit of a stir two years ago with its Active Motor outfitted on a Venturi Volage. But they’ve been perpetually stuck in concept mode. (A MachineDesign.com article explores the technology’s pluses and minuses in great depth.)

Easybrid electric hub motor conversion, Lorinser

image via Lorinser

Lorinser — in a sometimes awkwardly translated press release — says that in addition to the Smart vehicle, it is considering outfitting the Volkswagen Polo, Renault Twingo and the Fiat 500 with its conversion as it continues testing the technogolgy through mid-2011. At that point, it hopes to be able to equip “customer cars.”

With the Easybrid, Lorinser said cars gain about 30 kilowatts of power for improved acceleration and “final speed outputs,” saving an unscpecified amount of fuel in the process. The company said that motors are powerful enough to reach maximum torque after a single revolution — so going solely electric can be done. Range in that mode is estimated at around 18 miles.

Lorinser gives no firm price for its product, but imagines a scenario under which users wouldn’t have to pay for the lithium ion battery that accompanies the hub system. By forgoing that hefty expense and contracting with charge providers, the system might cost 5,000 Euros, or around $6,600.

Looking for green gadget gift ideas for this holiday season? We have you covered with our annual Green Gadgets Holiday Gift Guide – check it out now!

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • Sorry about the awkwardly translated Lorinser Easybrid press release.
    Here I send you a better one.

    December 2010

    PRESS RELEASE
    WORLD PREMIERE

    Lorinser presents Easybrid® at the Essen Motor Show 2010 –
    an innovative retrofit hub motor for compact cars

    How many drivers of a compact car have not already expressed a wish for more power in their automobile and without extra fuel consumption and increase in environmental pollution? Until now, one went hand in hand with the other and therefore such wishes remained unattainable. At the Essen Motor Show 2010, Sportservice Lorinser presented Easybrid® as an innovative solution using a retrofit electric hub motor producing 30 kW additional power, applied to a Smart Fortwo.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, automobile manufacturers experimented with hub motors and had already installed them into their motor cars – including such manufacturers like Ferdinand Porsche. However, this development was soon outdated, as the general public preferred a combustion engine. Due to increasing fuel prices, as well as current environmental issues, climate- and CO2-debates, more companies were thinking about the future of individual mobility and were displaying electric- and hybrid cars, knowing for well that these will not survive their concept car status for the time being. In particular, German car manufacturers appear to have missed the trend and only fit hybrid technology if at all, into luxury class vehicles.

    What would happen if it was possible to fit hybrid technology as a retrofit solution into cars designed for the everyday motorist? Could it be at all possible to retrofit this technology into compact cars? Would such a modification not be too complicated and therefore too expensive? Sportservice Lorinser, usually known for its sportive refining of Mercedes Benz models, is now tackling these questions. The company based in Waiblingen / Swabia and its project manager Martin Oberdoerfer-Schmidt conclude: “The modification is possible and can also be performed in an easy and therefore economic way.”

    The preconditions are that the cars in question have drum brakes on the rear axle which is quite common with small and compact cars. Stators are fitted to the brake armature discs. These are accumulated electric coils which are supplied with directed power via control electronics which magnetise them and therefore turn the rotor on the wheel hub equipped with permanent magnets in rolling direction.

    Therefore, any kind of engine, differential or driving shaft becomes unnecessary as the motor directly drives and accelerates the individual wheel. As a consequence, the nominal capacity of the electronic motor is transferred to the road almost without any frictional loss. With the help of a control unit, the power of the hub motors is added to the initial power of the combustion engine. This modification is usually added to the rear axle and therefore many of the vehicles in question are turned into four wheel drive cars with added traction advantages at winter time.

    Easybrid® supports existing fuel- or diesel engines of the individual cars and produces an additional power of approximately 30 kW (about 41hp) for improved acceleration- and maximum speeds. At the same time, the consumption- and CO2-levels decrease. As electric engines are very powerful, their maximum torque is reached after only one revolution. It is therefore possible, to move these cars solely on an electric basis. With this retrofit solution, Lorinser not only covers all advantages of modern hybrid acceleration, but also allows the driver to choose his operational mode. Apart from the combination of both engines, he can also opt for either the sole electronic or sole combustion engine. The driver can therefore decide if he wishes to use fuel or electricity or a combination of both.

    In order to recharge the lithium ionic batteries of the electric engine which for space saving measures are either stored in the spare wheel drop or under the vehicle, the car can either be connected to a normal socket or the so-called recuperation could be engaged during operation. This means that the energy which is generated during braking and driving downhill recharges the batteries. Therefore, the car can run approximately 30 kilometres on sole electric power and depending on the model far more than 500 kilometres with the combined hybrid mode. In a combination with modern turbo diesel engines, even wider distances are possible.

    On the Essen Motor Show 2010 which started on November 27th, Lorinser will introduce the first driveable prototype based on a Smart Fortwo with a retrofit hub motor. Further possible models included would be the Volkswagen Polo, the Renault Twingo and the Fiat 500. Also older vehicles are suitable and in future, Lorinser will develop solutions for these as well. Since May 2009, Lorinser engineers have been co-operating with external development partners on retrofitting hub motors and prototypes which were equipped with such technology. The test period will end by mid 2011 and from then, it will be possible to install the technology to customers´ cars.

    Modification for compact cars only makes sense if it does not exceed the value of the automobile. Therefore, Sportservice Lorinser has revised the overall project and added an innovative idea. Following the idea of mobile phone companies, contracts could be introduced which bind a customer to an energy provider who owns the car batteries on a long-term basis. The energy provider could therefore use its own battery as energy storage for vehicle-to-grid concepts and the car driver would pay for the batteries with an increased energy cost. Thereby, Lorinser accepts the fact that mobility will not become cheaper in the future, yet battery prices will significantly drop and fuel prices are certain to increase.

    Therefore, it is interesting for both parties – the drivers of electric- and hybrid cars as well as the utility companies. The latter could even introduce an energy flat rate for corporate clients with a fleet of electric automobiles. Such concepts are presently being discussed with energy suppliers.

    With such a battery financing concept between supplier and consumer, the modification of a compact car could be reduced to around EUR 5,000. If the government were to participate in subsidising a lower CO2-emissions by putting an additional tax on cars with less favourable performance, the effective costs for the hub motor retrofit would be even further reduced.

    Specification Easybrid®
    Retrofit hub motor:

    Electric nominal performance: approx. 30 kW /41 hp
    Reach (solely electric) approx. 30 km
    Reach (hybrid) approx. 550 km

    Specification
    Lorinser Smart Fortwo:

    – Aerodynamic pack
    front bumper
    rear bumper
    fender flaring front and rear
    – Lorinser light-alloy wheels 17“ Speedy
    7×17 inch, 205/40-17 ContiSportContact3-tyres, front and rear

    Development partner:

    – DIEHL EAGLE PICHER GmbH
    Battery manufacturer

    – EBERLE Motoren GmbH
    Engine development

    – UNITEK Industrieelektronik GmbH
    Electric engine control

    – Ingenieurbüro
    Brinkmeyer & Partner
    Automotive Testing Systems

    http://www.lorinser.com

    More information at http://www.sportservice.lorinser.com and photos in the image data base http://bdb.lorinser.com

    Contact: Sportservice Lorinser GmbH Phone: +49 (0)7151 1361-0 D-71332 Waiblingen
    E-mail: presse@lorinser.com Alte Bundesstraße 45

    PR-Contact: Ralph Niese Phone: +49 (0)7152 353891 D-71229 Leonberg
    ConCom GmbH E-mail: r.niese@concom.eu Roentgenstraße 31

    Greatings from Winnenden

    Martin Oberdörfer-Schmidt
    Project Manager