• Mar 15th 2011 at 6:56PM
  • 9
The commonly black Lincoln Town Car is turning green over at XL Hybrids, a Somerville, MA start-up. The company converts the car to hybrid power, adding an electric motor that allows for a 15-30 percent reduction in fuel consumption while providing an additional 20 horsepower. Although conversion costs are not out yet, co-founder Justin Ashton estimates that the investment can be recouped in about 24 months, and even shorter as gas prices increase. Not bad for a six-hour job.

XL Hybrids Under CarThe conversion can be performed at the company's current service center. The lithium-ion phosphate battery will take up 25 percent of the trunk space but, because of the cavernous nature of the Town Car's trunk, plenty of luggage space remains. The only added maintenance cost after the conversion is a $20 rubber belt replacement every 50,000 miles.

Town Cars are not the only fleet vehicles XL Hybrids that has set its sights on. Ashton told AutoblogGreen:

We're engineering the hybrid system for Ford E-Series vans to be released into customer pilot testing later this year (then one for GM van models in 2012). The van product is designed for shuttle, delivery, and service van applications and is really the big opportunity for us, both in terms of market size, and in terms of potential environmental impact from reducing total gallons of fuel used in fleets. As you know, turnover can be painfully slow (measured in decades). That's why we offer both a retrofit hybrid system for existing vehicles as well as an upfit option for new vehicles as fleet buyers spec them out.

Some fleet vehicles are used until the last possible mile is driven out of them, and operators of those machines will be wise to consider a conversion like the one XL offers. Saving money and reducing fuel consumption sounds like a win-win to us.

[Source: Wired | Images: XL Hybrids]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Netgain has a similar system that a gentleman installed on his Avalanche with what appears to be a ~15% increase in city mileage available for forty miles.


      The cost is about $10k, so the payback period, ignoring the cost of wear and tear on the batteries and the cost of electricity is about 20 years at 20k city miles per year, all of which need to be under ~40-50+ miles between charges. If they could get the total system cost including batteries down to ~$3k and the customer drove ~150 miles per day in 50 mile chunks with complete charges between each chunk, then maybe this XL hybrid system could pay itself off in two years, ignoring the cost of batteries and electricity of course, but most people aren't going to have that kind of driving schedule and charging availability.

      It's a very smart design in terms of energy efficiency because unlocked automatic transmissions have really poor efficiency, so a quick boost to help get the car into 2nd or 3rd where the tcc will lock up is a good idea from an engineering POV, but financially someone would need a very specific set of circumstances for it to be worthwhile.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Town Car is also available in flex fuel form, enabling you to use E85 ethanol and thus not only drastically reduce your gasoline consumption and related emissions, but also, CRUCIALLY, break the monopoly oil-derived fuel has on transportation motive power, a monopoly enabling OPEC to charge us backbreaking prices and to spend the resulting wealth on making war on us.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here's a real world comparison.
      Honda Insight Hybrid: 40 mpg city.
      What would I have bought if this car was not available?
      Mini Cooper, same price, with the options I would have wanted, city mpg 29.

      That means every fill up I save 25% on gas for as long as I own the car. Payback: Immediate.

      Here's another way to look at it.
      Previous car, Subaru Outback, city mpg 18-19.
      New car, 50% savings in gas from DAY One. Payback: Immediate.

      Payback On Day One, is the real world payback period.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is the petrole engine stopped when in EV mode?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I doubt there is an EV mode. Then the designers would have have to convert the vacuum brakes, steering and all sorts of other things that run of the ice.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is funny, compared to the "genius's" at AutoBlog who just "proved" that hybrids don't save money.

      There's a lot of money "proving" things are false, that are true. There's some serious money going into right wing PR firms these days.
        • 4 Years Ago
        People are now paid to misrepresent the facts, for the private benefit of companies like Koch Industries, if you want a job in the field: Washington DC should be your destination.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Because the PR people for these companies always tell the truth...right?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now that's what I call turning over a new leaf! I mean green leaf!
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