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?
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.