July 14, 2008

New Zealand firm announces hybrid retrofit kit

As gas prices continue to soar, the waiting lists for nearly every hybrid on the market have grown ever longer. Many would-be buyers are coming from SUVs and light trucks, both of which are being hammered on resale value as new inventory stalls on dealer lots.

Now there's an alternative.

Octafuel - a manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cells - has developed a regenerative braking system that can be retrofitted to nearly any vehicle.

“Regenerative braking is about recovering energy when drivers put their foot on the brake – which reduces fuel costs,”said Fresnel in a release announcing the new systems.

Using standardized battery packs and electric motors, each application is customized to fit the specific vehicle and work with the car's original gasoline or diesel drivetrain.

“The technology is well-proven, having been fitted to more than a million motor cars worldwide over a variety of operating conditions, and now OctaFuel has taken the essence of that technology and made it affordable for everyday people," said Fresnel.

Fresnel is mum about the wattage or storage capacity, but notes that the Octafuel retrofit will pay itself back much faster than an all-new hybrid car.

Prices range between NZ$1,247 for the entry level system suited for commuter cars to NZ$5947 for the commercial grade system better suited to large cars and light trucks.


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