Retrofit Hybrid Cars from Gas Guzzlers

Part 3 of my interview with Dennis Bieschke of NetGain - talking about making plug-in hybrid cars out of old gas hogs with their EMIS kit.

Part 1 of this interview can be found here, and Part 2 of this interview can be found here.

Retrofit Hybrid Cars, EAS, and the X Prize

Me: How does it compare with the Poulsen hybrid car? To me, this X-prize contestant seems much the same as the EMIS, but attaches differently, plugs in, and has more power...and I'm thinking their design (which seems to be in the experimental phase right now) wouldn't work well in practice (or for long) under real life conditions. Can you comment?

Dennis: NetGain Technologies, LLC has not evaluated the Poulsen hybrid car, especially in relation to all the safety concerns one must consider, so we would have no comment at this time.

Translator: Lynne, we're in the business of supplying real motors for real electric cars which real people drive. Judging science fair projects, I think that's more your line of work, right?

Me: Yes. That does sound like fun!

EAS of Installation

Me: How difficult is the EMIS to install, if I don't have much experience at this sort of thing? Do I have options about whether I install it myself or get it done by a professional?

Dennis: EAS. You mean how difficult is the EAS to install?

Me: Right. Sorry.

Dennis: At this time only authorized dealers are installing the system, because of the safety check requirements and the installation equipment needs (some motors weigh over 230 pounds).

Translator:We want these to actually work, so we only send them to people that we are sure are competent to install the system correctly. No offense, but Lynne...that's not you. You said so yourself.

Me: Oh, no offense taken. I totally agree.

Will My Warranty Be Void?

Note from Seth Leitman's book Build Your Own Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (Tab Green Guru Guides): "...there is legal precedent for the conclusion that original auto warranties cannot be voided completely by modifications - only the part(s) affected by the retrofit will have their warranties affected."(p. 223)

Me: Does the installation of the EAS have any effect on the gas-guzzler's powertrain warranty?

Dennis: Both EAS and EMIS are patent pending technologies. NetGain intends to educate the market regarding both. After an appropriate amount of time, NetGain will sell and/or license such patent pending technologies to third parties, enter into strategic partnerships and more. NetGain expects that such third parties and strategic partners will address warranty issues in the context of their particular use of such patent pending technologies.

To the extent that EAS and EMIS are made available to the market for use by persons who desire to use it in the context of their intended use, this will be done without warranty and subject to hold harmless agreements that will benefit NetGain and others. This is primarily due to the fact that such persons have complete control over their use and installation of EAS and EMIS, and NetGain and others are not in control of such uses and installations. It is assumed that such persons are sophisticated and knowledgeable users; to that end, each such person will be required to represent this before any sale is to occur.

Translator:Okay, the big automakers are probably not going to be thrilled about the alterations, let's be honest. They'd rather sell you a new car. But when you buy a car, the powertrain belongs to you. If you get an EAS installed correctly, it shouldn't hurt your powertrain at all, but we're not about to assume responsibility for bad installations.

Me: How much weight does the EMIS add?

Dennis: EMIS itself weighs very little. However, the EAS system's weight will vary depending on the size motor (90 to 230 pounds) that is used, some structural members to hold the motor and the number of batteries that are designed for the application. For the testing we have completed with the Grumman truck, the added weight of the system was less than 1100 pounds and was included in our savings of 26%.

Translator:The EMIS - the brain - weighs a pound. It doesn't work by itself, though. The motor has weight, the batteries have weight. The weight of the kit is all that stuff together.

Me: The GPS option for tracking your employee's every move that you mention in your FAQ just screams "invasion of privacy" to me. Are fleet owners actually taking you up on that option? I remember, back in my days as an employee, I used to drive a car from the motor pool during rush hour in Seattle. The shortest route from A to B and back was not always the fastest, and I can just imagine having to justify my wild, taxicab driving adventures to some corporate bean-counter based on feedback from my GPS tracking device.

Okay, that was more comment than question. Sorry; )

Dennis: The GPS option is not fully developed yet, but ideas to use it to better plan routes, create records for deliveries and times has had positive feedback from our corporate surveys.

Translator: Hang on. We're not the Evil Empire, nor are we associated or affiliated with the Evil Empire in any way.
Think about it: small businesses are the ones who need EMIS the most. For them, converting the delivery fleet into EMIS hybrid cars might be the difference between staying in business and going bankrupt. Global MegaCorp, on the other hand, can afford to buy a fleet of Priuses, and already has. They're probably not our target client.

Me: guys are publicly traded, or not?

Dennis: NetGain Technologies, LLC is a limited liability corporation in Illinois, i.e. privately owned.

Translator: So no shares in your stocking this Christmas, sorry.

Disclaimer: Dennis didn't say any of the stuff in the parentheses, of course. I was just messing around: )

Gotta have your own hybrid car conversion?

NetGain has a list of authorized dealers who install EMIS-es, batteries, motors, and check the list, call up the dealer nearest you, and soon you'll have your own plug-in hybrid car.

Note: This conversion is not currently available for 4x4s or front wheel drive. NetGain is working on other possibilities for a wider range of hybrid car conversions even as we speak.

Note to Self: EAS is the KIT. EMIS is the brain of the kit.

Part 1 of my interview with NetGain's Dennis Bieschke.

Part 2 of my interview with NetGain's Dennis Bieschke.

Back to Hybrid Electric Cars.