We showed you the press release from Robert Q. Riley Enterprises announcing the impending launch of the XR3 diesel electric hybrid a few days ago. Now, we would like to share with you some technical details that we learned while we made a visit recently.

The diesel engine, mounted at the front of the vehicle, is from Kubota and is a three-cylinder 23 horsepower model. The engine is certified for B20 use, and almost certainly will run fine on B100. The engine is mated to a four-speed manual transaxle, sourced from VW. Yes, the venerable Beetle shares its transmission for this application. Custom half-shafts with CV joints connect the transaxle to the front wheels using Chevy hubs, brakes and front end components.

The frame of the machine is a custom backbone, made of steel. A bank of lithium-ion batteries is contained in the center of the frame, and another set of batteries lies at the front of the vehicle on either side of the engine. An 8" electric motor sourced from ADC connects to a jackshaft and on to the rear wheel via belt drive. There is no provision for regenerative braking.

Read more after the jump.

[Source: Robert Q. Riley]

Currently, the vehicle's body is being molded using a fiberglass-reinforced-plastic arrangement. The shape of the body has been carved out of foam, and is awaiting the hand-laid fiberglass and resin to be applied over top. When finished, the body will be a sandwich construction. Inside, and under a custom windshield of safety glass are two seats, side by side. The canopy of the vehicle will tilt forward for access to the interior.

Riley plans on offering the vehicle in kit form, with the option of electric-only in addition to the diesel electric drivetrain in the prototype. Battery options will include the lithium-ion batteries and optional lead-acids from Odyssey. Being a three-wheeled vehicle, registration will make the vehicle a motorcycle in the U.S. This means that HOV lane use will be permitted, but also means that you may need a special license, and may need to wear a helmet, depending on what state you live in.

We will be sharing pictures of the completed body in a week or so. I have seen all the CAD files for the vehicle, and can say with certainty that all the details are accounted for. All suppliers have the parts readily available, so when the prototype has been completed and molds have been made, it will not take long for the vehicle to be ready for the road. I look forward to continuing our relationship with Riley, and we will be sure to bring you any new developments from the project as they become available.


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