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Regenerative Hybrid Electric Car Conversion

by Greg U
(Cleveland, Ohio)

I want to convert my VW Cabrio (Rabbit/Golf) to a regenerative hybrid (just an onboard gasoline generator is fine) with plug-in and onboard solar charging. I have a lot of hills to traverse to work and back, and want to go out to the country on weekends.

Question is, what do I buy, where do I get it, and how do I do it?

I am a fairly competent nuts and bolts mechanic (I kept air cooled VW's and old Harley running in the hippie days) but most sites list the benefits of conversions (I am already convinced!) but no hard, practical info! I have my wrenches ready, what next??

Hi, Greg!
First, some terms.

When you say "regenerative hybrid", do you mean an electric car with a gas generator to recharge the batteries on the fly? That's a series or serial hybrid.

(I like your term better, myself, but the word "regenerative" is already taken. Often, electric cars will have some kind of "regenerative braking" using kinetic energy to put charge back into the battery pack. If we use "regenerative" to describe a hybrid, somebody's bound to object.)

Next, what's practical? Your gas generator is a pretty good idea; the onboard solar panels, for now, are not. Too little bang for the buck.

You want to know how to actually do this conversion? You can get a conversion manual that actually shows you how to do an electric conversion, that's the first step. If you "get" it better watching videos rather than reading, that's available too. (Check the "Recommended Reading" list up there on the right.)

Adding a generator is a matter of ventilation and space. Le Vehicule Vert is still the best example of a homebuilt series hybrid using a portable generator that I've seen.


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