Hybrids get more than 100 MPG!!!

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted September 28, 2005

Dear Wealth Daily reader:

The twenty-something woman with the cheerful disposition in the Honda commercial is quite convincing when she flashes a smile and tells primetime viewers that the Insight is the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market, averaging 66 miles per gallon.

Compared to the fuel efficiency options consumers had only three years ago - 66 miles per gallon is quite impressive.

Think about it.

With a gas tank that can hold 15 gallons of gasoline, the Insight can travel 990 miles without stopping at a gas station (save for restroom breaks). That's like hopping in your car with a full tank of gas, and going from Baltimore to Chicago… then from Chicago to Milwaukee… from Milwaukee to St. Louis, non-stop. And on one tank of gas!

But it gets better.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average daily commute for drivers in the U.S. is 15 miles, each way.

That means, with a fuel-efficient hybrid getting 66 miles per gallon, it could cost you less than three gallons of gas per work week.

Not bad.

But there's always room for improvement!

"Want is the mistress of invention"

When the automobile was first invented, a control stick was used for steering. Then someone had the brilliant idea of adding a steering wheel.

Exterior lights weren't part of the original design of the first automobiles either.

Then someone realized that a directional lighting apparatus could allow users to drive at night; thus bringing into existence the headlight.

And just imagine how excited they must've been when someone decided to invent the windshield wiper!!!

Well, when the first hybrid vehicles made their way onto the market, consumers eager to save money on gas were quick to take to the fuel-efficient alternatives.

But the technology and design of those hybrids, as well as the hybrids on the road today, still leave a lot of room for improvements for increased fuel efficiency. And for a select group of programmers and inventors, these improvements have not only been theorized - but have been tested and proven.

100 miles per gallon - easy!

Can you imagine getting 100 miles per gallon?

That kind of mileage would certainly make today's gas prices a lot easier to deal with.

Based on the average daily commute for American drivers and today's average gas price of $2.80 per gallon, your total gas bill for the week would be $4.20!!!

In an effort to push the limits of fuel efficiency in their hybrid vehicles, a small group of programmers and inventors have figured out a number of different ways to modify their vehicles.

And you won't believe the kind of mileage they're getting!

Initiated by a group of Honda Insight owners, a project known as Manual Integrated Motor Assist (MIMA) has been developed to provide greater driver control over the activation and charging of hybrid systems.

You see, the current automatic hybrid control software in hybrids is set to find the best mix of gasoline to electric drive.

The idea behind MIMA however, is that some humans can do a better a job than the software.

Either automatically through a programmable system or with the use of a small joystick on the shift lever, MIMA enables the driver to control the Insight's electric motor and generator so as to activate the assist when the miles per gallon drops to an adjustable set point and to activate the regeneration when the miles per gallon raises to another set point.

(When these functions are activated, the factory pre-set fuel conserving, safety and emission control features of the vehicle remain operational.)

According to Mike Dabrowski, the chief software and hardware developer for MIMA, with these modifications, an additional 15 percent improvement has already been realized. Though he's optimistic that the system software still has quite a bit of room for improvements.

As he should be.

You see, MIMA-modified Insights are not only starting to get the attention of hybrid enthusiasts...but investors as well.

How could they not?

Especially with some MIMA-equipped Insight users reporting 80, 90, even 100 miles per gallon.

On a 1,000 mile trip to Washington D.C., one user reported an average of 100.5 miles per gallon. And that included both city and highway driving.

And just this past summer, a modified Honda Insight neared the 100-mile-per-gallon mark over a 150-mile range in the National 2005 Tour de Sol in upstate New York.

Oh, and the cost for this type of modification...

Between $425 and $650!!!

I'll have much more on Manual Integrated Motor Assist soon. Including a free special report!


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Staying 'plugged-in' to advances in hybrid technology
One of the highlights of this year's National 2005 Tour de Sol, beyond the modified Insight I just told you about, was a modified Toyota Prius.

Using a much larger battery pack than the normal Prius (charged with external grid power), the modified Prius achieved 102 miles per gallon on a 150-mile run, using gasoline and 9 kilowatt-hours of electricity that charged its special lithium-ion batteries (which cost less than $1 to recharge).

This system, developed by EDrive Systems LLC (a joint technology venture between Energy CS, Inc. and Clean-Tech LLC) is the first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle retrofit system available commercially.

Here's how it works...

According to the company, the EDrive system replaces the existing Prius NiMH battery and Toyota battery control computer with a larger Valence (VLNC:Nasdaq) Saphion lithium-ion battery and a proprietary battery monitoring and control system developed by Energy CS, Inc.

The new system allows the Prius to be charged at home using a standard 110/120V home outlet. And with the larger battery, the Prius can run in electric only 'EV' mode at lower speeds or when less power is needed.

The result is EV driving and electrically boosted gasoline driving for the first 50 to 60 miles with a gasoline efficiency of 100 to 150 mpg. After the 50-60 mile 'boosted' range, the vehicle performs just like a standard Prius until it is plugged in again.

After the nightly re-charge, the vehicle can be driven in EV mode until the vehicle speed exceeds 34 mph. At this point, the engine may start up in order to warm up the emission control system. After the emission system is warmed up, the Prius uses the gasoline engine whenever higher speeds are needed, but will always (for the first 50 to 60 miles) inject electricity to reduce gasoline consumption.

The EDrive system also includes a dashboard mounted display that tells you if you're using gasoline, and if not, how far you can press the accelerator without turning the gasoline engine on.

EDrive Systems claims that in low speed city driving and 55mph freeway driving, it's possible to average over 200 miles per gallon. However, more aggressive driving over 65mph will lower the efficiency to 100 miles per gallon or less.

I don't know about you, but if I could LOWER my efficiency to 100 miles per gallon - I'd be fine with that!

Until next time...

Jeff Siegel
Editor, Green Chip Review

Jeff Siegel is the managing editor of Green Chip Stocks, an investment service dedicated to following the highly lucrative LOHAS market. Since his recommendation of his favorite organic food store stock last August, the stock is up more than 130%!

Trading at $3 a share, Jeff thinks it's going to $16.75. To learn more about this stock... and why he thinks its going up to $16.75, see: [The Next Whole Foods]