Italian researchers say they have developed a device that can convert a conventional front wheel drive car into a four-wheel drive hybrid.
The HySolarKit recharges a car battery using kinetic energy and flexible solar panels. The panels can produce up to two kilowatts an hour, which is about 25 percent of the energy needed for a car to operate in a typical urban environment.
“Photovoltaics is revolutionary. It is the only way we can use primary energy directly on the vehicle, with a short circuit between nature and mobility. HySolarKit has been patented by our research group and can be applied to every front wheel drive car, reducing fuel consumption and emissions,” explained Gianfranco Rizzo, a professor at the Department of Industrial Engineering at Salerno University.
An On Board Diagnostics protocol gives access to data such as pedal position, vehicle speed, engine speed and other variables. Two electric motors are integrated into the rear wheels and connected to a battery. In that way, the vehicle can operate in pure electric mode or in hybrid mode.
“The kit will be sold for about 3,000 euros. The investment can be recovered in about three years. You have to consider that this kit enhances performance, acceleration and handling of the vehicle, thanks to the four driving wheels,” said Dario Marra, a Ph.D. Research Associate at the Department of Industrial Engineering at Salerno University.
The motor helps recharge the battery when braking and driving downhill, recovering the energy lost. In addition, thin, flexible solar panels installed on the roof and the front of the car produce energy that recharges the battery whether it is moving or parked.