I drive an ’09 Subaru Forester XT. The general design is good, but Subaru’s are not particularly economical and the XT requires premium fuel to avoid engine overheating.
It would be great if an “e-assist” capability could be added to this car, so that at least when I am decelerating, engine braking via a motor-alternator / battery storage system could store some energy, and use it to assist the vehicle during acceleration.
Are there actually any companies you know of attempting this? Or is that sort of thing simply too complex to add to an existing vehicle?
Unfortunately, Subaru is driving very slowly to the fuel efficiency party, and, sadly, the other small CUV’s I’ve looked at don’t offer any hybrid or e-assist capability with AWD, a necessity up here in the NorthWest.
As someone who promotes creativity/entrepreneurship outside of his gig at TTAC, I’ll try to not be a cynic: someone’s actually made a business out of what you propose. And not to (intentionally) turf for the guy, but he posted elsewhere that he’s trying to sell this kit for $1000. Ish.
So after you spend that $1000, this will be labor intensive retrofit: it simply must be a universal system that will need tweaks to implement on your Subie. If you can’t DIY, expect someone with an hourly rate to experiment for a long time to make it work. Or a sympathetic friend that’ll take their sweet-ass time. And the cost/downtime/stress associated is not worth it for the average person. Questions to ask yourself:
- How much will it cost to install on your Subie?
- When exactly do you reach the break even point?
- Should you assume gas prices remain constant?
- Will it work as promised on your vehicle?
- Is it worth your time and money?
Especially considering you can buy a Ford Escape 4WD Hybrid, according to this reputable source. And it won’t take premium. If that’s what you really want.
Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.