Piston Slap: And Hybrids For All?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
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piston slap and hybrids for all
TTAC Commentator kurtamaxxguy writes:

Hello, Sajeev.

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.

Sajeev answers:

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.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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4 of 65 comments
  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Dec 19, 2012

    "enforce the rule by actually towing the SUVs" Exactly. You do it a few of times, and people will notice. Of course you'll have to add the warning: "Unauthorized vehicles will be towed at owner's expense".

  • El scotto El scotto on Dec 19, 2012

    If it's not on a military base and it's not illegal in the civilian world who's going to enforce it? Will a name tag wearing retail employee call the tow truck? Will the tow truck haul away the alleged offender? Will a lawyer get involved? Park in the Flag Officer's or E-9's spot on base you will get towed. Thier base stickers show their ranks. You can legally; and I say gleefully tow someone illegally parked in a handicapped spot. What's next? Whole Foods reserving spots for organic boxers/panties wearers?

    • See 1 previous
    • CJinSD CJinSD on Dec 19, 2012

      @Jellodyne I've seen my neighbors ticketed for parking in their own yards here in pinko California. The left hates private property. As for stores with hybrid only parking, enforcing them is a question of how much contempt they have for their paying customers. I'm guessing it isn't as much as the left has for its citizens.

  • God'stime nice
  • MaintenanceCosts Mercedes coupes should not have B-pillars and this one is dead to me because it has one.
  • EBFlex Pretty awesome this thread is almost universally against this pile of garbage. Tesla really missed the mark.
  • FreedMike I suppose that in some crowded city like Rome or Tokyo, there's a market for a luxurious pint-size car. I don't think they'll be able to give them away here in the U.S.
  • TMA1 How much did exchange rates affect this decision? The Renegade is imported from Italy. I'm wondering if that's what caused the price to reach within a few hundred of the much bigger Compass. Kind of a no-brainer to pick the larger, more modern vehicle.