Built between 1990 and 1992, the Jaguar XJR-15 is a two-seater sports car of the highest caliber, and an exceedingly rare one too. Just 53 Jaguar XJR-15 supercars were ever built, and a Japanese company called YGK has converted one of these rare jungle cats using a unique turbo-hybrid system that uses the exhaust gases to generate electricity rather than horsepower.
Technologic Vehicles reports that YGK was first granted a patent to its Exhaust Energy Recovery (EER) Hybrid system back in 2012, and they have replaced the original 6.0 liter V12 with a naturally-aspirated 4.5 liter engine with an unspecified number of cylinders. Power output isn’t discussed, but YGK claims to have improved fuel economy by some 10%.
They’ve done that by using the turbocharger to spin a generator that charges a supercpacitor, rather than blowing more air into the engine. This stored energy is then doled out at low speeds to boost fuel economy, though the 10% is admittedly kinda low, especially given the fact that the XJR is already a lightweight and aerodynamic vehicle.
It isn’t just YGK that’s looking at alternatives to traditional turbocharging though. While forced induction engines are tipped to make up a majority of motors in the next decade, companies like Audi are embracing ideas like electronic turbos that work best at low RPMs. BMW has been toying with waste heat recovery systems for years now, and the Mazda6 already uses its i-ELOOP supercapcitor system to boost the fuel economy to the front of the mid-size sedan segment.
Without more details, it’s hard to say just where the YGK EER-Hybrid system might fit in, though I can imagine there are a few Jaguar fans out there who can’t be happy to see this uncommon sports car mangled into some kind of hybrid project. Personally, I’m kinda floating in the middle; I enjoy seeing cool cars made cooler with unique drivetrains, but without more information, it’s hard to say whether the YGK EER-Hybrid was an upgrade or downgrade.