As compact as it is (in comparison to a car, anyway), the Can-Am Spyder doesn't guzzle much fuel. But that won't stop some from being lured by the tree-hugging credentials of a "hybrid" badge.

The trike – which is closer in form to a motorbike with an extra wheel, as opposed to a car missing one – is forming the basis for a new project being undertaken at the University of Sherbrooke. A joint effort between the institute of higher learning in the Canadian province of Quebec (where the Can-Am is built) and its producers at Bombardier Recreational Products, the four-year endeavor is focused on developing a hybrid drivetrain for the Spyder. Over its course, the team of 30 researchers plan on producing three successive prototypes in the aim of reducing the vehicle's carbon emissions by 50% while increasing fuel efficiency by the same.

To get there, the Canadian federal government has awarded the team a $6.2 million grant (the Canadian and American dollars hovering around par these days) from the Automotive Partnership Canada fund, with Bombardier kicking in an additional $5.1 million for a total budget of $11.3 million. That's a whole lot of loonies to give an overgrown motorbike a bigger alternator, so hopefully some innovative technology comes from the endeavor.

[Source: CanadianDriver]