In a world of green and electric start-ups trying to manufacture their very own vehicles from scratch, it’s nice to see companies taking a different, if not smarter, twist. Raser Technologies has just unveiled their Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) plug-in hybridization of an H3 Hummer. And for 40 miles from a full charge, it can run purely on electricity, using no gasoline whatsoever. Even after the first 40 miles the Raser H3 Hummer runs in your more typical hybrid fashion for a fuel economy that still puts a Honda Insight or Toyota Prius to shame (which … really … is not all that difficult with today’s technology), at least until it hits around 200 miles after its last battery recharge.
It’s a Hummer that even ultra-green California and its Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, can get behind. (Or in front of, for a good photo-op.)
Make no mistake though, this hybridized H3 Hummer is no simple upgrade. The standard Hummer engine is replaced by a 260-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, as is used in the Pontiac Solstice, and drives a 100-kilowatt generator to provide electricity. Yes, that’s right. As is the standard in extended-range hybrid designs now, the gasoline engine never actually moves the transmission or wheels directly. The gas engine is there only to power a generator, and the vehicle is actually entirely powered by electric motors. A move that Toyota and Honda should seriously consider to upgrade their Prius and Insight lines respectively. The electric motor in the Raser H3 is a 200kW advanced AC induction motor specifically designed by Raser. And in the H3 this one electric motor is all that actually powers the 4WD transmission, powerful enough to retain the Hummer’s off-road capabilities while simultaneously giving the Raser H3 a top-end of 90MPH.
The conversion further adds a 40 kWh battery pack near the rear weighing in at 600 lbs that can be recharged anywhere from three to ten hours, depending on the line being used to recharge the vehicle. (For comparison the Chevy Volt’s battery pack will supposedly be 16 kWh at 375 lbs and the Tesla Roadster has a massive 53 kWh battery pack at almost 1000 lbs.) All of that doesn’t come easy to fit in a vehicle even as large as a Hummer. The transmission was moved, necessitating drive shafts changes as well, which further required an exhaust pipe adjustment. The fuel tank has even been relocated and reduced in size, from the standard 22 gallon down to a mere 11 gallon fuel tank. Not that you’ll be needing a large fuel tank anymore though!
All of these adjustments don’t come cheap, and the retail pricing has yet to be unveiled. But Raser Technologies is sure that customers will be lining up. And not just for green Raser H3 Hummer hybrids either! By completely replacing the engine and transmission Raser has created an off-the-shelf drop-in that can be adapted to most similarly large trucks and SUVs, opening up a wide potential for big bad hybrids that are greener than nearly any vehicle on the road.
Raser Technologies says that full-scale production will begin “soon” and that they sincerely hope to have two thousand such hybrid conversions of SUVs and trucks on the road by 2010. It’s being a bit on the hopeful side perhaps, but certainly a goal worth aiming for, as the whole world can benefit from such fuel-efficient vehicles.
And what of California’s Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger? Well supposedly he’s already in line for one of Raser’s first shiny green H3s. A green auto enthusiast himself, Arnold already owns two alternative-fuel modified Hummers, and the Raser H3 would certainly be a shining pinacle of mean green machine for his garage.