Do-it-yourself (DIY) XR3: 225 MPG Plug-In Hybrid Trike Headed for Production

Published on June 14th, 2009 | by Jerry James Stone

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XR3: 225 MPG Plug-In Hybrid Trike Headed for Production

Robert Riley’s XR3 kit car is an amazing three-wheeled plug-in diesel hybrid. The trike gets a jaw dropping 225mpg on combined diesel-electric power and 125mpg when using only the 23hp diesel engine.

And hey, it kinda looks like that Back to the Future car!

Introduced back in June of 2008, the two-passenger car was designed so it can be assembled using readily available parts. Fully constructed, the car weighs in at 1480 pounds and has top speed of 80mph. And while you can only get 40 miles out of its li-ion battery pack, it can be plugged into any standard wall socket.

It’s an all-wheel-drive, ground-connected parallel hybrid, which means there’s no mechanical transmission between the two systems. It relies fully on the ground to provide the connection. The car can be ran in diesel-only, battery-electric-only, or hybrid modes.

Riley’s site says that anyone with moderate skill can build the bike:

Plans enable people with common building skills to build a duplicate of the XR3 Hybrid prototype or convert their own car into a significantly more fuel-efficient vehicle. Readers will understand the factors that influence fuel economy, and learn how to make any car achieve greater fuel economy. The XR3 Hybrid gives enthusiasts and experimenters the opportunity to significantly reduce their transportation expenses and have fun doing it.

While plans for building the car will only set you back about $99, the cost of building the vehicle reigns in around $25,000. But if you aren’t a DIYer, don’t worry, that is about to change as the XR3 is headed for production.

According to Riley, “with enough market penetration, super-efficient personal transit vehicles like the XR3 could forever put an end to imported oil, and do it with affordable technology that already exists.”

Riley told AutoblogGreen that:

“The vehicle will arrive at our prototype facilities on the outskirts of Cleveland in a few weeks, and then it’ll go out to the Center for Automotive Research where they’ll run tests, computer-model the results, and do various changes to optimize the power train so we can freeze the design for production.”

Riley said the reason Cleveland was chosen was, “The region has a strong and underutilized manufacturing base that is ideally suited for this type of venture.”

If you want to build it yourself, there are choices which can reduce the cost to about $7,500. But the girl’s not included.

Source: Autoblog Green

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About the Author

is a web developer, part-time blogger, and a full-time environmentalist. His crusade for all things eco started twenty years ago when he ditched his meat-and-potatoes upbringing for something more vegetarian-shaped. His passions include cooking, green tech, eco politics, and smart green design. And while he doesn't own a car anymore, he loves to write about those too. Jerry studied at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. During his time there he was a DJ at the campus station KCPR and he also wrote for the campus paper. Jerry currently resides in San Francisco, CA with his cat Lola. You can stalk him on Twitter @jerryjamesstone.



  • Mardi VanEgdom

    Wouldn’t having only one rear wheel be dangerous if you spun out on wet roads or something? Can anyone build one of these things or is special knowledge required?

  • Mardi VanEgdom

    Wouldn’t having only one rear wheel be dangerous if you spun out on wet roads or something? Can anyone build one of these things or is special knowledge required?

  • http://www.thepumablog.com Steve Puma

    Everything about this car is genius…from the look to the design to modularity. You can build diesel-only, electric-only or hybrid versions of it. If you choose one option, you can add the other one later. You can use lead-acid batteries if you wan to save cost.

    This is where the DIY community meets downloadable design. It’s easy to see where small builders could start building customized, local versions of these vehicles. Not only would transportation costs be reduced, but manufacturing in localized as well.

    Totally, totally, totally, damn brilliant!!!

  • http://www.thepumablog.com Steve Puma

    Everything about this car is genius…from the look to the design to modularity. You can build diesel-only, electric-only or hybrid versions of it. If you choose one option, you can add the other one later. You can use lead-acid batteries if you wan to save cost.

    This is where the DIY community meets downloadable design. It’s easy to see where small builders could start building customized, local versions of these vehicles. Not only would transportation costs be reduced, but manufacturing in localized as well.

    Totally, totally, totally, damn brilliant!!!

  • leslie

    Great article- things like this make me excited about the future and the possibilities

  • leslie

    Great article- things like this make me excited about the future and the possibilities

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  • http://desertstandard.com Roger

    Very neat stuff. This is good to see.

    As a side note I would think that someone who can go to the effort of making one of these things should also be able to get someone with decent camera skills to make a nice movie of it in action. Something about Attention to Detail…

  • http://desertstandard.com Roger

    Very neat stuff. This is good to see.

    As a side note I would think that someone who can go to the effort of making one of these things should also be able to get someone with decent camera skills to make a nice movie of it in action. Something about Attention to Detail…

  • nick

    If youre going to make a futuristic looking car, make it futuristic… not futuristic if you still live in the 1960s.

    Car needs to look modern, or no one will buy it no matter how many MPG it gets.

  • nick

    If youre going to make a futuristic looking car, make it futuristic… not futuristic if you still live in the 1960s.

    Car needs to look modern, or no one will buy it no matter how many MPG it gets.

  • http://gas2.0 william mcgowan

    well ive been following mr.

    rieleys work since i was 10 yrs old at almost 50 now.

    the mans got it where it counts. and if you want it

    futuristic then make it so.

    it,s a kit man…check out his web site look read chew it up a little think about what this mans about. no crime no foul.

    most folks leap before they think.its all good.

    thanks for the ear.

  • http://Web Harry Bergeron

    Why don’t all these big brains know that those fat, wide tires create huge rolling resistance that harms mileage?

  • http://Web Pawan

    If you ever want to manufacture this product in the Laem Chabang Free Zone Deep Sea Port in Thailand for domestic as well as re-export sales-please think of us – we may be able to help you set up here.Thailand already has an active infrastructure to make cars.
    Cheers

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  • http://Web BISHOP MICHAEL KELLEY

    I LOVE THIS CAR…LET ME KNOW WHERE I CAN PICK ONE UP

  • Thomas

    My question is does it really go 80 mph? Or 80 mph? Down a hill? Also can you drive the car on the highway and does it have airbags?

  • munnasef kamal

    I wanna buy this one black colour and i want to know if damage parts how can i get or how can i repair and i want to re-sell in my country.I have a large well decorated office in our capital.

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  • http://home.comcast.net/~tomleem BigGoofyGuy

    IIRC, it never went into production but there are those who are making it. It is a shame since I think it is really cool. Perhaps if they made most of it but allowed the buyer provide the engine / power unit, it could be considered a kit (like King Midget is doing). [04/15/2014]

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