Romanian Team Suggests Modular EV With Swappable Gas Engine

Electric cars aren’t quite ready for primetime. Blame high prices, blame their short range, blame whatever you want, but most consumers aren’t willing to try and live with an electric car just yet. But what about an electric car with an optional gas engine? That’s the idea being floated by a group of Romanians who have apparently not heard of the term “plug-in hybrid.”

The Sci hyMod is a concept vehicle that utilizes a battery-electric drivetrain for all short, local trips, which according to some studies make up over 95% of daily driving. When needed, a gas engine can be added to the car as a range extender, doing away with the dead weight of carrying a second drivetrain that is rarely used in the case of cars like the Chevy Volt.

The engine/transmission module can also be replaced with a 17 kWh battery pack. Combined with an always on-board 5 kWh battery pack, this would give the EV a theoretical range of around 87 miles. With the gas engine module on board,the hyMod would get the equivalent of 39 mpg.

It is a neat idea, no doubt, but one fraught with complications. The team went to great lengths to design a replaceable engine/transmission and battery module, but getting it to work in the real world is a whole ‘nother thing. Besides, this is the same idea behind every plug-in hybrid on the road, albeit without the whole engine in/engine out idea.

This system would require special swapping stations located at regular intervals, and companies like Project Better Place that offer EV battery swapping are already running into problems. Adding a gas engine to the mix will only complicate things.

That said, it sure would be easy to replace broken engines, wouldn’t it? I’ll chalk this up as a good-but-impractical idea.

Source: Green Car Congress

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.