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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hummer H3 Plugin Hybrid Gets 100 MPG, Kicks Prius Butt

While we wait to see if General Motors will go banko come June 1, Raser Technologies is hoping to change our minds about one of GM’s most iconic offerings: the Humvee.

During the upcoming 2009 SAE World Congress (Detroit, April 20 - 24) the company plans to unveil a Hummer H3 Range-Extended Electric Vehicle (ReEV) prototype. The vehicle is designed, first and foremost, as a purely electric vehicle with a drive train similar to the Voltec system in the Chevrolet Volt.

“We are resurrecting the Hummer,” David West, vice president of marketing for Raser Technologies said, adding that “It’s like a Volt on steroids.”

So far, this zombie Hummer pretty sweet. The modded Hummer gets 268 hp, has a 40 mile all-electric range, and a fuel-efficiency of over 100 mpg.

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“We’ve taken the worst environmental offender on the road and made it greener than a Prius,” West told

Seriously, can it really out-green the Toyota Prius?

“Yes,” explains West. “We took the challenge and here it is. The average driver starts off with a full charged battery with a 40 mile battery range. 75-percent of consumers live within that range and drive less than 40 a miles a day. So most people will never hear the gas engine come on.”

GM probably hopes so. GM was topdog for over 70 years until 2007 when they were surpassed by Toyota as the world’s No. 1 automaker.

“We are excited to be able to demonstrate an electric powertrain for larger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs,” said James Spellman, Vice President, of Transportation for Raser Technologies. “These are the best selling vehicles in America and can benefit the most from increased fuel economy and reduced emissions.” He went on to say, “Unlike the Prius, which is a mild hybrid vehicle, an eco-friendly SUV will get people’s attention.”

The vehicle is propelled by a 200 kW Symetron Enhanced AC induction motor hooked directly to the transmission, which is still connected to the all-wheel-drive system. According to Raser, it’s one of the most powerful passenger vehicle electric motors offered today and the whole system has near zero emissions. Also, the traction motor will support regenerative braking.

“If we put this powertrain in smaller vehicles down the road,” West said, “you could expect about 400 miles per gallon for the average (city) consumer.”

The V-8 combustion engine has been replaced by a small stand-alone 4 cylinder 2.0L engine which is only connected to the 100 kW Symetron PM Synchronous generator, and not the drive system. The engine is used only generate electricity and recharge the batteries when the vehicle drives beyond its 40 mile battery range and the lithium ion batteries are spent.

Three liquid cooled lithium ion battery packs are mounted between the frame rails and can be charged with a standard 110-volt household outlet. For a quicker charging 220-volt outlets are also supported. A full charge will take between 3 and 10 hours.

This plugin hybrid drive-system was designed by Raser Technologies, but developed by FEV, Inc. But is a 100 mpg Hummer enough to change the minds of the 30,000 industry specialists, engineers and business leaders who will be attending SAE?

No gas is used up to 40 miles. At 50 miles a day, the vehicle would still get 185 miles to the gallon. For 60 it’s 100 miles per gallon and over 200 miles the miles per gallon goes down to 33.

“Our goal in exhibiting this particular vehicle is to demonstrate that electric vehicle technology is a viable solution for a variety of vehicle platforms,” said Gary Rogers, FEV, Inc. president and CEO. “Needs of consumers will continue to vary, and the Hummer range-extended electric vehicle shows that fuel economy does not necessarily mean sacrificing power and utility.”

As of yet, there has been no talk of funding but I suspect that will come up during SAE. Raser hopes to have 2,000 of these things on the road by the end of 2010. reports that Pacific Gas & Electric has already requested two of them.

Hey, only 1,998 more to go!