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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
First post, so please forgive any ignorant questions & please feel free to point me to the right resources. My name is Rafael and I live in San Francisco, CA. The reason I ended up here is that due to Covid / quarantine, I was more or less forced to acquire a car (indefinite loaner from my parents, to be specific) but I still don't like having to use gas.

So, I wanted to see if there were any ways to improve it / add at least some partial EV capability.

The vehicle is a manual transmission 2009 Pontiac Vibe (front wheel drive), which I often take only to and from the office (~50 miles), but occasionally also drive on longer road trips.

I've spoken to the guys at Flux Hybrids, their technology seemed to be a great solution - if it existed for manual transmissions. They were willing to work with me individually, but as a startup their roadmap is dictated by investors and it seems they are not sure whether they plan to make a version for manual transmissions (or front wheel, for that matter) at all.

Since the vehicle is front wheel, I was wondering what the feasibility of adding hub motors to the rear would be. Protean Drive's Pd16 looks promising, but I don't know if it's available (any experience?).

The solution does not need to work in tandem with the ICE (pure EV mode only would be great) so that may take out some of the integration / controller complexity, but I do wonder about power steering specifically. Are there workarounds for that sort of thing?

Anyway, that's probably enough to start with.

Cheers & keep well,
R
 

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Sounds too expensive and complex

Hub motors usually aren’t reliable and won’t move a car

instead
buy a leaf for $3500-$6000 (make sure it has enough capacity bars for 50 miles or Destination charge) and your golden at a lower price than conversion.

Chevy volts likewise are available $3500 and up also cheaper than conversion
 

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... instead
buy a leaf for $3500-$6000 (make sure it has enough capacity bars for 50 miles or Destination charge) and your golden at a lower price than conversion.

Chevy volts likewise are available $3500 and up also cheaper than conversion
I agree - conversions can be great projects for enthusiasts, but a used production EV is more sensible economically if your goal is just to drive on electricity, rather than to make something yourself or to learn the technology.
 

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Since the vehicle is front wheel, I was wondering what the feasibility of adding hub motors to the rear would be. Protean Drive's Pd16 looks promising, but I don't know if it's available (any experience?).
Hub motors for cars are a technical disaster (way too heavy), which is why many have been shown as prototypes but none are used in production.
 

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The solution does not need to work in tandem with the ICE (pure EV mode only would be great) so that may take out some of the integration / controller complexity, but I do wonder about power steering specifically. Are there workarounds for that sort of thing?
The problem with completely separate gasoline and electric drive systems is that you are always carrying around an entire unused powertrain. Without any integration, the gasoline system can't benefit from the improved efficiency like any normal hybrid, and the electric system has to be powerful enough to drive the car by itself.

The hybrid is still complex even if only one powertrain runs at a time - they need to be coordinated so they don't run at the same time, the accelerator signal needs to go to both systems, power steering and brakes need to work with the engine off, etc.

Power steering is the easy part of all of this. The car presumably has a traditional engine-driven hydraulic power steering assist; you can add a motor to drive that pump, or replace the pump with an electric one from a newer car (electrohydraulic power steering assist was common for several years before almost everyone went to electric assist).
 

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I've spoken to the guys at Flux Hybrids, their technology seemed to be a great solution - if it existed for manual transmissions. They were willing to work with me individually, but as a startup their roadmap is dictated by investors and it seems they are not sure whether they plan to make a version for manual transmissions (or front wheel, for that matter) at all.
The Hybrid Electric Conversion Kit which they offer is not a plug-in system - it has only 2.6 kWh of storage, and operates at only 60 volts... it's not something you can drive in electric-only mode for any significant distance. There is little detail of the configuration, but the illustration of the chassis from overhead shows a front-wheel-drive car.

Also, the transparent view of a converted car is actually an image of a Volvo V60L, stolen from Volvo's corporate media (here is it at Green Car Reports). I suspect that the illustration of the chassis from overhead started as a GM image of the Chevrolet Volt, stolen from GM. I think it's reasonable to assume that all of the other images they show are just taken from other companies; I doubt this company actually has any product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hub motors for cars are a technical disaster (way too heavy), which is why many have been shown as prototypes but none are used in production.
Yeah, I guess part of that is the unsprung mass problem, among other things.

Say that the budget wasn't a problem, but I wanted to learn about the technical feasibility.

As you mention, the powersteering wouldn't be the issue, that I can figure out. Likewise the accelerator can be multiplexed electrically when the engine is off.

What about the brakes?

If I wanted to limit myself to strictly having one powertrain running at a time and had a way of enforcing this, are there any interesting drivetrain solutions out there for this type of problem?

Cheers,
R
 
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