If the names Trimuter, Tri-Magnum or Urba Electric ring a bell, you probably read a lot of Mechanix Illustrated or Popular Mechanics back in the sixties and seventies. Robert Q. Riley was a prolific designer of these build it yourself vehicles along with many, many more that were available as plans enabling you to construct your own fiberglass bodied car, trike or even motorcycle that was powered by some combination of internal combustion and electric power. I remember them all and even bought a set of Trimuter plans back then. The plans were clear and comprehensive and all you needed to do was add desire and a modicum of mechanical skill and you would have your own futuristic vehicle.
Well, Robert Q. Riley is at it again, or still at it might be more appropriate, because in about 90 days he will introduce both plans and a kit for the XR-3, a sleek two-passenger, three-wheel sports car that is expected to generate up to 225 miles per gallon. As before, you'll be able to build it yourself even if you're not an experienced custom builder or in possession of a garage full of high end tools. The design looks very cool and if you're interested in high efficiency vehicles and you like to work with your hands, you might want to check this out.
Press release follows with more images and links:
Designed to be assembled by someone with average mechanical abilities and no prior experience, the all-wheel drive vehicle will be available as a kit or plans for complete do-it-yourself construction.
“We’ve made a technology leap by designing a super-simple hybrid power system, but ‘technology’ itself was not the main thrust of the project,” said Robert Q. Riley, company president and author of “Alternative Cars in the 21st Century.” “We focused on the power of ‘design’ to define a new category of personal mobility products that are neither automobiles nor motorcycles.”
The XR-3 uses the latest hybrid power system technologies in the most simplified way possible. While the front wheels are powered by a three-cylinder diesel engine, a single rear wheel uses an electric motor run by a lithium-ion battery. The ground provides the connection between the two systems, eliminating the need for a complex electronic and mechanical interface.
Driving on power from its diesel engine, the XR-3 can achieve fuel economy of 125 miles per gallon. However, when the diesel and electric power systems are combined in a hybrid driving mode, fuel economy can exceed 200 miles per gallon over an 80-mile trip.
A simple three-position switch allows the driver to select between battery-only, diesel-only and hybrid driving modes. The diesel engine can remain off for local trips, since power from the advanced lithium-ion battery pack gives the car a battery-only range of up to 40 miles.