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Hybrid technology that's stored in your boot.

OWNERS of most modern cars could soon be able to double their vehicle's economy by carrying a pack of high-output recharchable batteries in the boot.

Researchers at MIRA, the UK automotive development centre in Warwickshire, have been able to replicate the latest hybrid technology without designing a new car from scratch.

Instead they have devised a way of improving economy by 60 per cent simply by filling the boot with the latest ultra-lightweight Lithium Ion Phosphate batteries boosted by nano-particle technology.

In addition to using less conventional fuel the car also emits 40 per cent lower exhaust emissions.

The 50/50 hybrid derives power jointly from a 60Kw petrol engine at the front and two 35Kw inboard motors powering the rear wheels.

Overall, the Skoda Fabia test model achieves 64mpg in comparison to 39mpg for the standard car whilst general levels of performance are unaffected.

The car uses a battery pack arranged into three portable cassettes, each capable of storing 30Kw.

These storage units could also power external devices including a range of lifestyle accessory items.

MIRA's advanced powertrain manager Derek Charters, says: "Despite advances in powertrain technology you can still obtain electricity from your domestic provider far cheaper and greener than you can produce it via an automotive combustion engine so plug-in hybrids make sense.

"With this project we've removed the primary limitation of the 'plugin hybrid' concept by allowing the battery pack to come to the mains rather than having to park right next to a socket, which is more than a little difficult if you live in a terraced house or flat."

Energy Saving Trust chief executive Philip Sellwood, says: "This project has designed a new system allowing hybrids to be more flexible and practical for every day use. With more than a fifth of the UK's carbon emission produced by road transport these advances in technology are vital. More than three quarters of people believe that climate change is having an impact on the UK so it is important to bring more technology like this to the market place."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 20, 2008
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