In response to the UK government's Department for Transport issued its Ultra Low Carbon Car Challenge (ULCCC) to the auto industry in 2003, Ricardo teamed up with PSA Peugeot Citroën and energy storage specialists QinetiQ to create the Ricardo consortium. The team came up with the Efficient-C, an efficient C-class automobile.
The Citroën Berlingo compact MPV was chosen as the demonstrator vehicle. According to project leader Dave Greenwood, this vehicle was chosen "to show that the technology can be applied to a basic family car and that it does not require advanced streamlined carbon-fibre bodywork or any limiting of practical utility... I think that diesel hybridization is the only currently available technology-based solution capable of bringing a significant breakthrough in terms of consumption and CO2 emissions in the European market."
Continuing, Greenwood added, "We chose a 1.6 litre HDi engine, almost identical to the standard unit in the Berlingo, as our starting point, and linked it to a 288 volt, 23kW motor generator."
Other specifications are standard for the hybrid class of vehicles. A 288 volt lithium-ion battery with a DC\DC 12 volt converter for the remaining 12 volt accessories, and regenerative braking. Breaking from the pack, instead of a CVT transmission, an automated 5 speed manual was chosen.
At this time, the only remaining hurdle is the price. The system costs three thousand pounds more than the standard diesel model. They are hoping to release the vehicle only after the price can be reduced. Click here for the rest of the story from Autospeed in Australia, and here for our gallery.