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Toyota 4x4 Hybrid On Its Way To Costa Rica

by Rick
(Bend, Oregon USA)

Going to Costa Rica in your Hybrid?

Going to Costa Rica in your Hybrid?

I have a 1987 Toyota truck 4x4, I have dreams of driving it south (like Costa Rica or further).

I am thinking it would be nice to put in an electric motor with as small of a battery bank as possible to keep weight to a minimum and a diesel generator, like a train.
I will also be using the batteries to power things while camping, so if the whole thing could be 12V it would be better.

I will want to tow or plow with this truck so I also need to have enough power to do this stuff. My question is how would I do this, how small (size and weight) will this be, what size of generator should I get, and any other useful ideas you may have?

Hi, Rick!
The setup that comes to mind immediately is the EMIS, the Engine Motor Interface System, from Netgain Technologies.

If you've never heard of it, it's a kit, easily installed, that will turn your gas-guzzler (or diesel-dipper) into an electric-assist hybrid; brought to you by the folks who created the WarP DC motors for electric cars.

This is how it works: You install the electric motor on the drive shaft, then when your gas-guzzler needs a little extra power (just the situation you were describing - towing, plowing, hills, that sort of thing), you get a boost from your little electric friend. It's got 4 12v batteries, so not a lot of battery weight, and takes two days to do the conversion; real simple. Then off you go to Costa Rica, saving a lot of gas on the way!

The batteries, while they are 12 volts, are wired in series for 48 volts total.

Um...there's one tiny hitch to your happily-ever-after, though - you've got a 4x4, and it's older than 1996. That's not old for a Toyota, I know, I know. I love them too; ) It's just that the EMIS system is pretty specific right now. For the moment, these systems are only designed for:

  • 1996 or newer,

  • automatic transmission,

  • forward engine,

  • rear-wheel-drive cars.

My philosophy, of course, is that rules and guidelines were meant to be bent! I'd call up one of the local dealers of Netgain products, discuss my needs, and see if they wouldn't help you experiment on your truck.

Buena suerte, Ricardo!


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