Cellex Completes Fuel-Cell Pallet Truck Beta Trials at Wal-Mart
Cobasys and A123Systems Partner on Li-Ion Batteries

LML Korea Licensing TNO Series Hybrid Technology; Hybrid NewBeetle as Demonstrator

The NewBeetle diesel series hybrid. Click to enlarge.

TNO Automotive recently signed a Letter of Intent with LML Korea Co, Ltd. regarding the granting to LML of an exclusive licence to use the TNO-developed series hybrid powertrain control strategy for a number of specific applications.

LML Korea is now using the TNO Hybrid CarLab—a diesel series hybrid NewBeetle with 150 kW of drive power and fuel consumption of 4.0-4.5 liters/100km (52-59 mpg US)—as a demonstrator. The Hybrid CarLab finished second in the 2005 Monte Carlo Rally for hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.

The NewBeetle hybrid demonstrator uses an aluminum, 3-cylinder, 40 kW (54 hp) diesel genset that powers the 150 kW peak (50 kW continuous) front-wheel drive. Supercapacitors (3,500 F, 200-400V) provide energy storage. The TNO Hybrid Control system, based on TNO MACS controller hardware, manages the generator set and the hybrid system.

LML Korea Several has defined and is developing several possible applications for the hybrid technology. Current LML Korea activities include:

  • Marketing and production of the Wankel Rotary engine KKM 500 in Korea.

  • Marketing and assembly of the Rhino ATV in Asia.

  • Execution of a renewable energy project in Indonesia’s Molluccan province.

TNO is an independent Dutch R&D organization that provides contract research and specialist consultancy as well as licenses for patents and specialist software.

(A hat-tip to Peter!)



Not bad; City MPG is better due to regen braking, and the ~54 hp diesel is enough for 60 mpg highway cruise. Get VW to cooperate for EU and Korean market. Afterwards, expand to Japan, and NA markets.


Expand to Polo/Golf-Rabbit/Eos/Jetta/Golf Plus, and add a small Li-ion battery.


If you want to put on a fuel mileage show, I wouldn't start with Volkswagen's least aerodynamic car.



I might swap the caps for batteries and make it a plug hybrid. But his looks very interesting.


The Product is good should be sent to our side for


Lou Grinzo

I agree with the prior comments, particularly the one about making it a plug-in. I'm convinced that the best route forward at this point is plug-in serial hybrids. Not only are they generally simpler than parallel hybrids, but the route from them to a pure BEV is essentially one of removing components--a plug-in serial hybrid is at its core a BEV with an on-board generator.



I agree. If you can mke the genset light and powerful enough, you do not have to haul all the weight of a heavy engine and transmission everywhere you go.

P Schager

Better yet, make the genset a modular, industry-standard easily-removed unit. When you aren't going on long trips, you have more cargo space and you save weight (fuel/juice). When you want to upgrade, it's easy. You can keep the old one as a spare in your garage, so reliability concerns with cutting-edge, cleaner, more efficient technology are greatly eased. Make it small physically, but high power-density ones are an option that the car buyer (including the used car buyer) can easily match to his requirements.

To the extent cars are made this way, the turn-around time and the cost barrier to get the country (world) out of a box on any energy bind are a small fraction of what they are now. Similar with air pollution advances. For one thing, lots of people are in love with or clinging to their old cars, but very few are in love with their old engine.

Maintenance is as simple as dropping your engine off at the mechanic for low-priority, cheaper work. He can afford to store a considerable number of engines waiting for specialty parts from cheap sources. Less replacing of parts "just to make sure". Easy engine access. No loaner cars--maybe a loaner engine occasionally.

Make the module subdividable into fuel-storage unit and separate powerplant, to better prepare for alternative fuels (and to break up the weight for easier removal). Also the generator should be set up for easy reuse, since it will outlast any engine or fuel cell. Further the aftertreatment system might be a sub-module.

There could ultimately be two or three sizes, and a further option would be two engine modules for large vehicles. Great failsoft design, higher volume production and easier mainenance could offset the cost of redundant components.

Competition for advances in the public interest should be very effective, with the right regulation. Regulators, however, would have to revamp the system to enable this.

This kind of modularization is second-nature for electronics people, which is why electronics have evolved so much faster than cars. As cars come to be made mostly-electric, it's about time.

Detroit will balk, as this is disruptive, pro-small manufacturer and an affront to built-in obsolescence, so the initiative would have to be taken by public interest groups, government and upstarts including perhaps the companies described in the article.


As some here know, I've been touting my idea about Lithium-Ion, plug-in, in-wheel drive with a small BioDiesel Gen-set for several years.

Over time many have commented on the idea of making the Gen-set removal. At first I didn't see the point but am slowly catching on. The idea of making a car with modular components seems like a really good one.

With this approach, a buyer could only add whatever necessary components he/she needed.

Now all we have to do is convince the auto builders.


Genset, fuel cell, more batteries or whatever you want to put in the modular package. It would be like a laptop, put in a CD drive, hard drive, battery pack, whatever suits your needs. Replacement would be easier and modular standardized components make for economies of scale.

Roger Pham

This is an excellent work, especially the use of ultracap as surge power unit and energy capture without the wear and tear of battery. Altairnano or A123 batteries will be good also to convert this into a PHEV, due to their durability of many charge and discharge cycles, although cost can be an issue here at the present.

The only thing not mentioned is a highly-desirable direct torque coupler between the engine and the drive train during cruise in top gear, kinda like the torque coupler between the torque converter and the engine in an automatic transmission. So, when you ease up on the gas, the torque coupler transfer engine torque mechanically to the drive train and preventing energy loss in the generator-motor route of 20% or higher, due to resistance in the windings of the generator and motor. When you steps harder on the gas, the stored electricity in the battery or ultracap will power the motor and give the engine a boost of power. When the ultracap runs out of juice and you are climbing up a steep hill, then the torque coupler will be released, allowing the generator-motor to act as an automatic transmission, and the engine will rev up the generator faster, while the motor is churning more slowly but with higher torque.


Lots of good ideas in this thread, but remember that car manufacturers are not in the business of providing clean economical transportation. They are in the business of making money.


I'm already averaging 50mpg on biodiesel and it's EMF's free. Why trade this for a hybrid the comes with EMF's and potential health risks.

Roger Pham

Congratulation. What is the make and model of the car you are driving?
The VW new Beetle is not aerodynamically efficient. In a more streamlined body of that of a Prius or Civic, I'd bet that the mpg will be near 70 mpg hwy.

If you would couple the engine directly to the drive train with a mechanical torque coupler during cruise, then there will be almost no EMF, except during acceleration, and you'll gain probably another 10 mpg, so, you'll end up getting nearly 80 mpg hwy cruise with this torque coupler in a more aerodynamic body. How's that in comparison to 50mpg?

What evidence do you have regarding the harmful effect of "EMF"? These are radio waves with very low energy per unit or quanta, hence the ability for harming our DNA is nil. With all the cell phones, satellite radio and TV's and radio stations etc... aren't we already bombarded with high doses of electromagnetic radiation in everyday life? So, the amount of "EMF" that u are concerned with in electric car is nothing in the sea of radio waves that are bombarding you every seconds!

Roger Pham

You've raised a very good point: "...but remember that car mfg's are not in business of providing clean [and] economical transportation..."

That's why the eco-conscious public must vote with their pocket book to make darn sure that car mfg's will. How about gasoline tax increase, everybody? More stringent CAFE standard?


You guys probably missing the point. Diesel engine has very low fuel consumption on idle, and fairly good fuel efficiency on part power. These are the reasons for this drivetrain layout :

diesel engine is running to support AC operation in city driving, and no shut-off of engine is occuring at traffick light stops.

Hence no need for battery, cheap and long-lusting supercaps are just fine.

The vehicle is best for city stop-and-go traffic, so aerodynamics is of less importance.

Now, I do not know how this consept will work, but it is no doubt smart one.


It sounds more like the creators were too cheap to retrofit an electric A/C system, which would permit idle-stop.


The modular electronics concept described here reminds me of something I have pondered since I have been visiting this site.It is possible that in the future we could have a wider number of transportation manufacturers{Phoenix,tesla,smart,funcar etc.}.Just as electronics and chipmakers are now getting into solar cells and flat screen televisions.Todays big auto companies may have as much choice in the matter as the carriage makers had a say in whether autos would be produced.Sanyo,toshiba electric car anyone.


Roger makes good points on EMF - especially EMF radiated by an EV built for consumers which will probably have to utilize shielding if only to prevent RF interference with radio reception. We are also bombarded by high energy particles like gamma rays, hard x-ray and fast electron beams on a daily basis... maybe that's why we are going green so slowly;)

Modular components in engine design makes a lot of sense. If we could simply drop in a genset like a spare tire, before going on a long trip, daily BEV mileage /efficiency would improve more. Genset mods could be rented at local energy stations the way one rents a car further limiting upfront vehicle costs.

"car manufacturers are not in the business of providing clean economical transportation. They are in the business of making money."

George, with millions of new driver/owners coming online auto manufacturers will need to realize profits at lower margins. The electronics industry learned this a long time ago. Consumer electronics is a huge business - hundreds of millions of units at small margins. They're doing just fine - check Sony's bottom line.


Interesting comparison of modularity to laptops...but it is more akin to the modularity of desktop computers.

You can add and take away things on the fly as you like but how many people actually do this? Enthusiasts I'm sure...you could even setup a business to do "modular" modifications on cars just like they have for computers. Frankly speaking, the average 110lb woman and even a 225lb fat guy won't be able to pick up a generator set to put it in or pull it out of anything. Many people don't like to simply "rent" components when they need them and want to actually own the components and would thus leave the genset in the vehicle all the time (how many people lease cars vs. buying?).


If small EMF's hurt people, you'd get cancer from electric blankets.  It doesn't happen enough to even be detectable, which is pretty small.  Subway riders in NYC and El riders in Chicago also form a very large exposed population, which would have revealed any signficant effect by now.

On top of that, steel is a near-perfect barrier against electrostatic fields and does a fair job of carrying magnetic fields through itself instead of the air.  Last, magnetic fields can be minimized (self-cancelled) by the use of e.g. coaxial or twisted-pair conductors.

You should treat claims of harm from garden-variety EMF's like free-energy nonsense from Keelynet.


The one thing I noticed about PCs is standards. Even in cars, you have 14" tires, not something proprietary. If you want a gasoline, diesel or even turbine genset you can. If you want a PEM or SOFC fuel cell, you can. If you want more batteries for a longer range BEV, you can.
This would require standards, but would allow you to "have it your way", or anyway you or anyone else may want it in the future.

P Schager

If they used lithium batteries and made it a PHEV, esp. with an aerodynamic body a small car like this would only really need a genset of perhaps 25 or 30 kW (34 - 40 hp). Honda managed for the Insight to build a 56 kg, 50 kW (124 lb, 67 hp) engine--granted it's not a diesel. If you use a free-piston engine, a rotary (LML does these), a turbine or an advanced fuel cell perhaps, the genset could be lighter. I imagine a genset module of less than 50 kg (110 lb) with separate or empty fuel tank.

With the right facilities--straps, hinges, wheels etc.--you'd only be lifting one end at a time so 25 kg (55 lb) lift requirement, which most any driver could do alone. It could be set up, for a conventional engine compartment with a high lip, with a set of straps so it could be rolled out end-over-end and then to the ground. Additionally you might have a built-in hoist using the hood for pulley mounting. Or have a low-lip trunk lid front or back (whichever end is used) so lift height requirement is low. You wheelbarrow the engine around the garage.

A ground-up car design could have the slot at the bottom, up against the front or rear with a cutout, so you essentially drive the car over or off the genset. No/minimal lifting. Maybe with the help of a pneumatic suspension (like a kneeling bus) to make the car get over it and then down. Possibly fully automatic (de)coupling--at least that could make sense for the swappable batteries option.

Rental/lease of a genset would be like renting a car, but should be less than 1/10th the cost. The few abuse modes could be electronically monitored for so there's little fuss, and capital and storage costs are low. Negligible liability issues. The genset could also be hung on the front of a trailer for moving day if your car doesn't have a slot.

Genset flexibility yields altfuel flexibility. Say you're in the Midwest and get a high-compression, high-efficiency dedicated E85 unit. If you're travelling around the country where they don't have E85, you might rent a propane one or a propane fuel sub-module.

BTW those orange power cables should go coax for safety reasons as well as EMI.


It would make much more sense to just use an engine hoist.  Of course, the idea has the difficulty of requiring fuel, exhaust and perhaps coolant lines to be disconnected and reconnected; the trailer version doesn't have any of this and would be far cheaper to service.

One advantage of trailers you missed is that they could double as emergency generators.  If our weather is getting more violent, this could be a big advantage.


A PHEV need not be super-aerodynamic nor ultra-light. The real problem with cars is NOT their fuel efficiency. The real problem is how the modern urban/sububan environ has been built to exclude travel by any other means except driving long distances for every purpose.

Driving distances must be reduced, essentially directing development toward that end. When driving becomes an option along with walking, mass transit and bicycling to nearby shopping, occupation, institutions and amenities etc, vehicle aerodynamics is irrelevant.

The PHEV drivetrain creates an economic incentive for short drives, to patronize and build local economies, whereby more destinations eventually become accessable without having to drive. Too few understand this concept. We don't need to build a better car as much as we need to (re)build better communities.

Vehicle weight is an important safety factor to all class of vehicles. Building cars, trucks and vans ultra-light compromises safety, period. The weight of NiMh batteries is an absolute advantage in many ways and need not be supplanted by lighter Li-Ion batteries.

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