Hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius have all so far combined a gas engine with an electric motor, but soon they’ll be offered with diesel power.
That prospect is closer now that a British company has unveiled a new prototype – based on a smart forfour – and declared the technology is ready to go.
The car combines the standard 1.5-liter three-cylinder oil-burner with a lithium-ion battery stored in the trunk floor. The results are impressive; the car can hit 60 mph in under 12 seconds, go on to a top speed of 100 mph and still return a staggering 88 mpg.
Best of all is the CO2 emissions figure of just 85 g/km. For comparison, the Prius puts out 104 g/km. The Zytek smart also features a stop/start function which stalls the car when it isn’t moving, for example, at traffic lights.
The battery can be charged in three ways – regenerative braking, via the engine powering an alternator, or by plugging the vehicle into a conventional power socket, making it a plug-in hybrid.
A spokesman said: “This vehicle is totally ready for production. It has the design detail and sophistication to enter the market immediately. There is currently no diesel hybrid but with Zytek’s system I can see that changing fairly soon.”