British engineering company Zytek has built a new diesel-electric hybrid car that emits less C02 than a Toyota Prius and is claimed to be capable of 88mpg. Using what Zytek calls “the world’s first low-cost, high efficiency hybrid drivetrain,” the car’s C02 emissions are 85g/km, less than the 100g/km target set by the Government’s Ultra Low Carbon Car Challenge. Zytek has cut the complexity and size of its hybrid system (right) by replacing mechanicals with advanced electronics. The vehicle it powers is based on a Smart ForFour, chosen because its three-cylinder diesel is small, light and efficient. The Smart’s engine is connected to a hybrid transmission. It consists of two motors, a starter/generator to turn the engine over and a traction motor to power the car. The car uses electric power to pull away, and then the diesel engine takes over.
The car is also significant because it’s among the first plug-in hybrids to appear. That means its batteries can be charged from the mains, as well as by its diesel motor and by regenerative braking.
Zytek hopes production of its drivetrain will be taken up by a major car maker.