Last year we wrote about Robert Q. Riley's XR-3 hybrid project, a diesel plug in hybrid you can build from plans. The XR-3 prototype is now on the road and I have to admit, I like the looks of it. It's a reverse trike configuration 3 wheeler with diesel power going to the front wheels and an electric motor for the rear wheel. The full diesel electric hybrid system can exceed 200 mpg. The 2 power systems are separate, though, which means you can build the diesel only version first and add the electric power later if you wish, keeping the cost down and still getting over 100 mpg. The 1480 pound hybrid accelerates like a normal car and tops out at 80 mph.
Riley specifically wanted great styling to give this high efficiency vehicle a fun personality and I think he's hit the mark, it really looks cool.
The prototype was built using the foam composite construction method, however, kits are in the works which will include pre-made body panels and a pre-welded frame assembly. The drive train options allow you to use various diesel engines and electric motors and you can use lead acid batteries in place of the Lithium Ion units to reduce cost. With this modular approach, the exact combination of pieces and parts gives the builder a lot of flexibility.
The canopy and front of the body can be removed to give complete engine access, the canopy has a steel tube perimeter frame for strength and there's a composite roll bar in the body and foam filled sections in the front and on the sides for impact protection.
Building a duplicate of the prototype might run about $25,000, a diesel only version about $10,000 but costs will vary depending on what you have available and what specific parts are chosen. No price yet on the kits.
In this period of transportation in transition where high fuel costs are causing many to rethink their vehicle options, the XR-3 shows one path that is visually appealing and technically interesting, plus it has a lot of hands on high tech appeal to the build it yourself crowd. I like it!
Photo and video below: