Do-it-yourself (DIY) xlhybrid1

Published on March 16th, 2011 | by Christopher DeMorro


Bolt-On Hybrid Conversion Adds Up To 30% More MPG’s

In the performance industry, a “bolt-on” modification is a cheap, easy way to add horsepower with just a little bit of work. A Massachusetts-based company has developed a bolt-on hybrid conversion aimed at fleet vehicles.

One of the most popular fleet vehicles in America is the Ford Crown Victoria and its cousin, the Lincoln Town Car, both soon-to-be-discontinued Panther platform cars. These ancient V8 beasts see a lot of work in the city, and return just awful gas mileage. So XL Hybrids developed a bolt-on hybrid conversion system that takes around six-hours to install, maintains the factory warranty, and can improve city gas mileage by as much as 30% on cars that average around 13-15 mpg.

A small lithium-ion battery takes up a minimal amount of trunk space and provides power to a 20-horsepower electric motor that bolts on to the differential and assists in driving the rear wheels. This small electric motor does not drive the wheels alone, but just provides a little extra oomph turning the driveshaft, taking some load off of the engine. XL Hybrids claims that on the Lincoln Town Car, this car mean an extra 15-30% fuel economy.

So optimally, we’re talking about going from 13 mpg to, at most, 16 mpg. But over many hundreds of thousands of miles, the fuel savings really start to add up, and XL Hybrids say that the system will pay for itself within 24 months. That’s a better return than many factory hybrids, and the Town Car shares a lot of components with Ford’s trucks and vans, as XL is targeting fleet owners with this technology (which uses off-the-shelf parts.) The only wear-and-tear part is a rubber belt that needs replacing every 50,000 miles or so. Simple, effective technology. I wonder if you couldn’t add this application to something like say, a Mustang? Heresy, I know, but I don’t see why not…

Sounds like the right kind of conversion at the right time. Does this system pique your interest?

Source: Wired | XL Hybrids

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.

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About the Author

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. When he isn't wrenching or writing, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • http://Web Tim Cleland

    What a great idea! It seems like it could be adapted to any RWD platform without too much modification.

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  • http://Web Dennis

    What company?

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  • Brad

    This sounds like a great idea. I don’t like how Chris phrased this sentence though and think it’s deceiving: “So optimally, we’re talking about going from 13 mpg to, at most, 16 mpg.”

    Even though he explains that over many miles it ends up being a big difference, he makes it sound like it’s not a big deal. This is the inherent problem with measuring fuel economy in miles per gallon (you purchase the gallons so it should really be the numerator). Just for an example, improving a 30mpg car to 53mpg would save as much fuel as improving 13mpg to 16mpg. But doesn’t 30mpg to 53 mpg sound so much better? (even though it’s the same) What I’m trying to get at is that at low mpg numbers, an improvement of 3mpg (13 to 16mpg) may sound small but is really a huge savings, the equivalent of a 23mpg (30mpg to 53mpg) savings at higher mpg numbers.

    Thanks for the post Chris, we need more retrofit technologies like this one!

  • http://Web Indy Bio-Diesel

    Curious what the cost on this is. My non diesel Ranger would really like to get better fuel mileage.

    • http://Web Keith

      You’re mistaken. Town cars routinely get 25 mpg, better than many small cars. This would be a nice addon, though.

      • Anon

        25mpg highway. More like 13 city.

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  • Sean

    The most effective place for any hybrid is in city driving, for a kit like this it doesn’t really matter what the highway mpg is, just the city. Though it could add a little passing power on the highway… and that gets no complaints from me.

  • Joe Adventure

    If I have a full time AWD Pontiac minivan, could this system completely take the place of the rear differential? So the front wheels would still be driven by the gas 3.4L engine and the rear wheels could be driven by this electric drive system?

    • Jo Borras

      You’d be better off taking the shaft out and replacing it with something like the Zilla electric motor.

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  • Barancy Peloma

    hmm, this is interesting.

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