Hybrid Vehicles buell

Published on August 16th, 2013 | by Jo Borrás

12

Erik Buell Racing Patents 400 hp Hybrid Motorcycle

Buell Hybrid Sportbike Patent

Erik Buell has patented a 400 hp gas-electric hybrid superbike to end all superbikes. To put that into perspective, with a quarter of the power, a Honda CBR600 rider would be totally unintimidated by the gnarliest high-horsepower hybrids from Porsche and Ferrari.

With about a third the power, Yamaha’s VMax regularly strikes terror into the hearts of its riders – and they, in turn, openly mock the Europeans and go gunning for timeslips in rural Ohio, where the really fast cars live. Make no mistake, kids: with half the power Buell has planned, the Buell hybrid ain’t no Prius.

Below, you can find “Fig. 4″ of the official patent, published by Google and the the US Patent Office, along with the rather long, legalese body of the patent. If you’re patient and interested enough to read through all of it, be sure you’re sitting down when you get to the part about the 1000 cc gas motor mated to a pair of 200 hp electric motors (MWAAAAAHAHAHAA!!). Enjoy!

Buell Hybrid Sportbike Patent

FIG. 4 is a side view of an embodiment of a ridden vehicle being a motorcycle 40, having a hybrid drive system. The motorcycle 40 includes a hybrid drive system comprising an electric motor assembly 41, an internal combustion engine 42, generator 43, and a rechargeable battery 44. The internal combustion engine 42 may be used as a motor to power a generator 43 adapted to generate electricity for the electric motor 41 and/or rechargeable battery 44. The internal combustion engine 42, electric motor assembly 41, and rechargeable battery 44 may form an integrated drive system for a hybrid motorcycle 40, configured to be installed and removed as a single unit. In other embodiments, the internal combustion engine 42, generator, electric motor assembly 41 and the rechargeable battery 44 may be separate components, configured to be installed and removed separately.

In the embodiment of FIG. 4, the motorcycle has at least one seat 48, attached to a frame 49. Also attached to the frame 49 is an internal combustion engine 42, generator 43, an electric motor assembly 41 and a rechargeable battery 44. The motorcycle 40 also has two wheels, 46 and 47. The axle 50 of the rear wheel 46 comprises a sprocket 51, fixedly engaged to the axle 50. The output shaft 52 of the motor assembly 41 also has a sprocket 53 fixedly engaged to the motor assembly output shaft 52. A drive chain or belt 54 is disposed between the wheel axle sprocket 51 and the motor assembly output shaft sprocket 53, such that the chain or belt 54 operatively engages the two sprockets 51 and 53. The chain or belt 54 transmits the power produced from the motor assembly 41, to the rear wheel 46. In some embodiments, a chain tensioner 55 (or belt tensioner) may be disposed on the motorcycle 40 to impart a tension on the chain, or belt, 54. The tension on the chain, or belt, 54 ensures that the chain or belt maintains sufficient traction with the two sprockets 51, 53 as the rear wheel 46 moves up and down with the changing ground conditions. The movement of the rear wheel 46 changing the distance between the motor sprocket 53 and the rear axle sprocket 51. In other embodiments, the swing arm 56, which supports the rear wheel 46 and the suspension, may be pivotably attached to the motorcycle 40 such that the pivot point of the swing arm 56 is aligned with the output shaft of the electric motor assembly 41. In such embodiments, as the rear wheel 46 moves up and down with changing ground conditions the distance between the rear axle sprocket 51 and the motor assembly sprocket 53 remains substantially constant, therefore, forgoing the requirement for a chain, or belt, tensioner.

The internal combustion engine 42, generator 43, electric motor 41 and the rechargeable battery 44 may be arranged in parallel electrical connection with each other. In this manner electricity may be supplied to the electric motor 41 by either the rechargeable battery 44 and/or the internal combustion engine 42. The internal combustion engine 42 may be configured to an optimal operating condition to drive the generator 43 to provide electricity to the rechargeable battery 44 to charge the rechargeable battery 44.

To maintain a motorcycle 40 at motorway speeds requires less power from the motor assembly 41 than when the motorcycle 40 is accelerating or travelling at very high speeds. The internal combustion engine 42 and generator 43 may be configured to provide sufficient electrical power to the electric motor assembly 41, and/or battery 44, to maintain the motorcycle at highway speeds while also providing electricity to the rechargeable battery 44 to recharge the rechargeable battery 44. When the rider wishes to accelerate or travel at high speeds the rechargeable battery 44 may be adapted to provide the required increase in electrical charge to the electric motor assembly 41 necessary to propel the motorcycle 40 at higher speeds or accelerate the motorcycle. When the rider decelerates or travels at certain speeds the internal combustion engine 42 and the generator 43 may be configured to provide sufficient electrical power to the motor 41, while also providing sufficient electrical charge to simultaneously recharge the rechargeable battery 44. In some embodiments, the internal combustion engine 42 and generator 43 may provide electrical charge to the electric motor 41 through the rechargeable battery 44. In other embodiments, the electrical charge may be provided directly to the electric motor 41.

The rechargeable battery 44 may be disposed within the frame 49 of the motorcycle 40. Additionally, or in the alternative, embodiments the electric motor assembly 41, the internal combustion engine 42, and generator 43, may be stacked below the seat of the motorcycle 40. In some embodiments, the internal combustion engine is positioned above the electric motor. To reduce the center of gravity the rechargeable battery 44 may be positioned at a lower point within the frame 49 of the motorcycle 40. The battery 44 may be a lithium-ion battery; however other battery chemistries may be used in the alternative. Operation of the rechargeable battery 44 may be controlled by an electronic controller 45. The electronic controller 45 may be the motorcycle’s central computer, or it may be a stand-alone system, specifically configured to control the operation of the rechargeable battery 44. The electronic controller 45 may also be configured to control the operation of the internal combustion engine 42 and the electric motor assembly 41.

The presently disclosed ridden vehicle in form of a motorcycle may be capable of having electric motors 41 producing in excess of 200 horsepower while having improved fuel efficiency due to the internal combustion engine 42 optimized to drive a generator 43 to generate electricity to charge the rechargeable battery 44. In some embodiments, the internal combustion engine may be configured to operate at a desired single speed, or a desired set of speeds, for maximum efficiency. In other embodiments, the electric motor assembly 41 may be configured to produce in excess of 400 horse power.

The motorcycle 40 may also comprise a fuel tank. The fuel tank may be supported by or disposed within the frame 49 such that the frame 49 of the motorcycle 40 houses the fuel for the internal combustion engine 42. A fuel line may connect the frame 49 housing the fuel to the internal combustion engine 42, or the frame, housing the fuel, may be configured to be directly connected to the fuel intake valve of the internal combustion engine 42. In some embodiments, the motorcycle 40 may comprise a fuel tank located on top of the frame 49 forward of the seat 48 as with traditional motorcycles. In other embodiments, the fuel tank may be disposed within the confines of the frame 49 to provide fuel to the internal combustion engine 42. The motorcycle 40 having a hybrid drive system, comprising an electric motor assembly 41, an internal combustion engine 42, a generator 43, and a rechargeable battery 44, would typically comprise an internal combustion engine 42 of smaller size than a conventional motorcycle powered solely by an internal combustion engine. A smaller engine requires less fuel, therefore, the presently disclosed hybrid motorcycle 40 typically comprises a fuel tank having a reduced capacity compared to conventional motorcycles. In other embodiments, the fuel tank may provide torsional support for the frame 49.

In some embodiments, during operation, the motorcycle 40 illustrated in FIG. 4 is operated by the electric motor 41 drawing electricity from the rechargeable battery 44. In embodiments, the charge level of the battery 44 is monitored. When the charge level of the battery falls below a predetermined charge level, for example 25%, 50%, or 75% of full charge, or any desired level of charge, the electronic controller 45 activates the internal combustion engine 42 to drive the generator 43 adapted to provide electrical charge to recharge the rechargeable battery 44. In other embodiments, the electronic controller 45 may activate the internal combustion engine based upon a monitored condition of the rechargeable battery 44, such as the rate of discharge or load applied to the rechargeable battery 44. In this manner, the control of the internal combustion engine may be activated and deactivated to maintain the desired charge level in the battery 44 or to provide additional power under high load conditions, such as rapid acceleration or travelling up a steep hill or at high speed.

The internal combustion engine 42 and generator 43 are operated to recharge the battery 44, and as such, may be operated at a substantially constant speed to optimize the generated output with minimum fuel consumption. A substantially constant speed operation may be distinguished from a variable speed operation, and entails control of the engine to a determined operating condition. In some embodiments, the internal combustion engine is operated at a power setting that yields the engine’s minimum brake specific fuel consumption. Once the battery 44 is charged to a predetermined level, for example, 95%, 98%, or 100% of full charge, the internal combustion engine 42 may be shut down and the ridden vehicle may operate solely with the battery 44 providing all of the electric power to the electric motor assembly 41.

In other embodiments, the internal combustion engine 42 may be controlled to maintain operation of the engine in an efficiency range for the engine unless additional electric power is desired to operate the motorcycle. In such embodiments, if additional electric power is desired to operate the motorcycle the internal combustion engine 42 may be operated to produce more electrical energy, such as by increasing the rotational speed of the internal combustion engine 42 to provide increased power to drive the generator 43. Under certain conditions, as desired, electrical power may be provided to the electric motor from the internal combustion engine 42 and generator 43, as well as the rechargeable battery 44. During operation the rider may select the power output of the electric motor assembly 41 using a throttle to control the vehicle’s speed and acceleration.

In some embodiments, the ridden vehicle being a motorcycle, as illustrated, may be capable of being powered solely by the electricity produced by the internal combustion engine 42 and generator 43. However, when the rechargeable battery is depleted, the internal combustion engine may function as a range extender for the motorcycle, allowing, for operation of the motorcycle, if at somewhat reduced performance, thus allowing the rider to travel home or to a maintenance control if the battery should malfunction or run out of charge.

Other methods of charging the vehicle battery, of any of the aforementioned vehicles, may also be employed. The vehicle may have an electrical connector configured to recharge the battery from an external electrical source, such as a generator or utility power. The vehicle may include an AC/DC converter allowing the vehicle to be charged from a standard alternating current source; however, in other embodiments, an AC/DC converter may be required to provide the necessary charging voltage to the battery.

In other embodiments, the decision to start or stop the internal combustion engine to recharge the battery may be based upon a measured rate of change of the charge level of the battery or on other operating parameters of the battery. The internal combustion engine may also be activated by the rider to recharge the battery even if the predetermined charge condition has not been reached. In some embodiments, the internal combustion engine 42 and generator 43 will recharge the battery 44 during operation of the ridden vehicle provided that the generator output exceeds the load on the battery. If the generator output does not exceed the load on the battery the rate of depletion of the battery will be reduced and the battery recharged when the load is reduced, such as when the ridden vehicle stops or when the throttle setting is reduced. As a result, the electric motor may at times be powered solely by the battery, solely by the internal combustion engine and generator, or by both the battery and generator depending upon the operating conditions of the vehicle. The terms “generator” and “alternator” are used interchangeably herein (however, it is recognized that one term or the other may be more appropriate depending on the application).

This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to practice the invention, including making and using any devices or systems and performing any incorporated methods. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to one of ordinary skill in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they have structural elements that do not different from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal language of the claims.

Source | Photos: US Patent Office, via AutoEvolution.



MAKE SOLAR WORK FOR YOU!





Next, use your Solar Report to get the best quote!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.



Back to Top ↑