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Hybrid Technologies Opts for Ballard Drive System for Battery-Electric PT Cruisers

Electric PT Cruiser and smart car produced for NASA.

Hybrid Technologies, a manufacturer and marketer of lithium-ion battery-electric vehicles, has selected Ballard Power Systems’ 312V 67 MS electric drive system for pilot projects relating to the manufacturing of lithium-ion-battery powered electric PT Cruisers for NASA and the US Navy.

The Ballard motor has a 32kW continuous rating and delivers a peak power of 67kW, with torque of 190 Nm (140 lb-ft). Hybrid Technologies said that its engineers selected this motor based on its proven track record along with an excellent power to weight ratio. The drive system also has a very advanced single ratio gearbox with a differential for front transaxles.

As Hybrid Technologies begins stratifying recent orders with the US Government, a key power system partner was mandated to complete orders scheduled though the 2007 fiscal year. Ballard Power Systems, known throughout the world as a leader in fuel cell technology was a natural partner for this project.

—Martin Koebler, Hybrid Technologies Head of Engineering

The company will use the 312V 67 MS system in all Hybrid PT Cruiser models as part of the 2006 delivery schedule. Development of the PT Cruisers will take place in Hybrid’s plant, while motor applications will remain under the guidance of Ballard Power Systems.

The electric PT Cruisers have a top speed of more than 80 mpg, with a range of 120 miles (193 km). Charge time is 6-8 hours with either 110-120 V or 220-240V. The lithium-ion battery pack weights approximately 600 lbs (272 kg). Cycle life is more than 1,500 charges.

Hybrid Technologies entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) earlier this year to determine the utility of battery-electric fleet vehicles produced by Hybrid Technologies. Vehicles selected by NASA for use in the NASA KSC fleet include the Hybrid PT Cruiser, Lithium Smart Car, and a high-performance lithium-ion all-terrain vehicle as part of Hybrid Technologies’ military line.

Space Act agreements are collaborative R&D effort in which NASA and the other party(ies) contribute personnel, use of NASA facilities, expertise, or equipment, technology, etc., but no transfer of funds. Space Act Agreements are not be used for procuring goods or services. Generally, technical reports and progress reports will be required.

The work with the Navy is a staged pilot program to develop a vehicle for testing for fleet replacement. The resulting vehicle will be marketed in the private sector upon conclusion of the initial test phase. According to Department of the Navy, this project is based on a desire to address an alternative to carbon-based-fuel vehicles.



Hmmm... I think I spot some solar cells on the PT Cruiser... Too bad its aerodynamic drag coefficient is pretty horrible.


Well spotted that man! Looks like the flexible type too.


Oh god, would be good to do some checking on companies that are reported on. HYBT does nothing but press releases, and they have pissed off people before with their bogus claims. Look up Frito and Jay Leno announcements that they made before ...



I'm not sure on the Cd of a PT and it might not be quite as bad as you believe it to be. It is more that the PT has a very large frontal surface area that becomes problematic. A large frontal surface area is what keeps most of the new "b-class" cars and city cars from having great highway gas mileage (they make them too tall even though they may not be extremely wide so they can give you more interior room). Making a vehicle 2" shorter or 2" more narrow lowers air resistance more than lowering the Cd by two hundreths (a 60" wide x 60" tall car with a .30 Cd has more drag than a 60" wide x 58" tall car with a .32 Cd).

Sid Hoffman

Yeah, a lot of them are taller, but I'm not sure how much a difference it makes. The Civic is only 53" tall and rated 38mpg with manual transmission. The Corolla is 58.5" tall and rated 41mpg with MT. Both are about the same width. A Fit is 60" tall and I think an inch narrower than the Corolla, 38mpg highway, the PT cruiser is 63" tall, same width as the Corolla but has a horrible engine and thus 27mpg highway. Most of the b-segment cars just have terrible engines and/or gearing compared to sedans. The Corolla proves you can have a much taller car get better FE than a shorter car (Civic) if it's designed right. Toyota will soon take over the world.

tom deplume

When you look at the intended use for these cars aerodynamics becomes trivial. These cars will rarely reach freeway speeds on a NASA or Naval base.


That may be true, tom, but you fail to realize that we quickly lose sight of the article and begin unrelated conversations on nearly every comment section...it is expected of us. I'm only doing my part to continue this trend.


I like these projects for the data they can provide. The more data the better the long term projections. If we can see how the batteries stand up to repeated deep discharge and rapid recharge, it can take some of the risk out of future ventures.

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