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Kit for Diesel Plug-in Hybrid Three-Wheeler to Debut

The powertrain layout of the XR-3. Click to enlarge.

Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC, a product design firm in Glendale, Ariz., will soon introduce the kit and plans for its XR-3 plug-in hybrid, a two-passenger, three-wheel vehicle with an expected fuel economy rating between 125 and 225 miles per gallon.

While the front wheels are powered by a three-cylinder, 23 hp (17 kW) diesel engine, a single rear wheel uses an electric motor run by a lithium-ion battery. The ground provides the connection between the two systems, eliminating the need for an electronic and mechanical interface.

Side view of the XR-3. Click to enlarge.

A three-position switch allows the driver to select between battery-only, diesel-only and hybrid driving modes. The diesel engine can remain off for local trips, since power from the lithium-ion battery pack gives the car a battery-only range of up to 40 miles.

Driving on power from its diesel engine, the XR-3 can achieve fuel economy of 125 miles per gallon. However, when the diesel and electric power systems are combined in a hybrid driving mode, fuel economy can exceed 200 miles per gallon over an 80-mile trip.



Awesome!!!! Safety?

greg woulf

I don't think it looks safe, but safety is overated.

I believe most states call three-wheelers motorcycles, so it'd have to pass motorcycle standards for safety.

I wonder how fast it'll go, and how much it'll cost.

Big Al

If the put this system on a four wheel vehicle, they will have a winner!

Mark A

Super idea, compact packaging just like it should be. Similar to the ZAP post earlier, but geared towards economy, it appears. But notice someone already wants to know how fast it will go!!!

If its priced under 20K, I can see a hit here. If not, then it is just another toy for the Jay Lenos and George Clooneys of this world, as are the ZAP and Tesla offerings.

But how do they pass the crash test standards? And how do they pass the tier 2 bin 5 diesel emission standards? Or, are three wheelers/motorcycles exempt from these standards? I hope to be informed.


I hope "soon" means yesterday, not next year, when Venture Vehicles will launch a similiar vehicle, The Venture One. This XR3 should have a better market acceptance, as this wheel configuration has been more widely used in the past. Broad market appeal may be hindered, depending on what type of diesl engine is being used. Can't wait to get the details on what
appears to the rebirth of a market segment of vehicles that
has gotten little development in the recent past. A hybrid
platform whose time has come!


I would like to know if it goes over 40mph? Freeway capable and efficient, that's what I call a winner. How many people can fit in it? I hope more than just one.

Bruno Cipolla

I wonder what kind of diesel engine it is...
three cylinders for 17KW...

Bruno Cipolla

BTW, it's a "plan only" Vehicle, you build it yourself...

Mark A

OK for those who dont read the link:
max speed 85mph
1300 lbs
2 seats
88" wheelbase
66" track
ht 43"

Engine is not described. This is a "kit", so engine choice is available perhaps. As a "kit", perhaps it is also exempt from all the regs.


a different take on 3 wheels.....


Nice... now the need to make on that'll hold a VW TDI.



Being a "kit car" and having 3 wheels should exempt it from stringent safety and emissions requirements in most states.

I wonder if this is an attempt at grabbing the "X-prize".

Dave Lazur

You will also be able to buy one that has been completely assembled for us mechanically challenged individuals.:)


Have any of you seen this thing driving?
They had a video of it on the Internet its WILD!
The web site indicates several safety features but MAN
oh MAN this could change a lot of things.
According to the site like a Mini Cooper but you sit higher. SKIP the four wheels when you see this video this will be a blast.


what's required is change in habit for motorists in US. They use to drive huge vehicle to carry mostly single occupant. using compact vehicle is more than enough for most people. Technologies are already existing and applied, what's required is change in people's perception. Make wise use of public transport where it is available and using fuel efficient cars where it is necessary and remember time is running out...

Timothy B

Realize, this is a parallel hybrid. In other words, it can't ever be converted to fuel cell only, etc etc. The only connection between the engine and the battery pack is the ground.

What this means is they can achieve insane MPG.. just look at the Honda Insight at something like 68MPG driven conservatively on the highway. However, it also means you can never get rid of the engine.

BUT, since this is a diesel hybrid, that means it is simple to run on vegetable oil. So, we can have a 100% carbon neutral car. :-)

It is beyond me why the manufacturers are not doing parallel hybrids while battery technology and fuel cell technology catches up. You could easily do a naturally aspirated diesel (eliminating all the complexity of diesel turbo) + electric drive parallel hybrid and have great acceleration from the electric drive, as well as unstoppable MPG, as seen above! Honda dropped the insight from its line, or so I believe, and is now going into series hybrids.

Its crazy. But then, it's business.


The web site says it can be made as an all electric vehicle without the ICE. As battery technology advances, this could be a good option.

Alan Somerville

An option to replace the ICE with another Li-ion battery to double, or even perhaps reble the range would make it a really exciting vehicle.

Timothy B

The designer talks about making it an all electric vehicle, but the design is the way it is so that is has broader appeal.

But come on, if you can get 40 miles on just the electric drive in this, if you replaced the diesel and fuel storage with battery and a slightly beefier motor/controller you should be able to much more than treble the range. I would guess off hand that you could get 300 Miles+.

The kicker is that the Lithium batteries and beefier electrics for such a conversion would cost much more than the diesel engine and support equipment. You would end up spending $15k or more on just the electrics.


There is the rub. ICEs are pretty cost effective. Gasoline and diesel are available in lots of places. You have a bit of inertia to overcome.
I like plug hybrid, dual fuel. I can charge in my garage for local trips, fuel in my garage with CNG for commutes and put gasoline in the tank for the longer trips.


Love the idea / concept. I have spend many hour pouring over this concept. You have put it on paper. I can't want for the prints to be made avalable and parts support to help build my own.


This sounds great I would love to have that for everyday and only drive my truck/car when needed until I graduate college then I will get a Dodge Diesel and run B100 and I could still use this for a comuter vehicle.

With $3 a gallon gas and no relief in sight, I want it NOW!!!!

Ben Nelson

There are also plans for a couple other trikes on the same web site.
One that interests me is:
shown at

If you look at the smaller upper right image, you can see that the entire back end is simply a motorcycle. Then the cockpit and front two wheels are just added on.

In this design, you could build the whole thing yourself in your garage. Keep the original ICE engine in the cycle and put an electric motor and batteries in front to propel the front wheels.

It would be just like the XR3, but with the drive for the front and real switched. (and that it runs on gas, unless you can find a diesel cycle somewhere.)

Seriously, I am considering building one of these in the not so distant future.


Inherent in the design, I think this three-wheeled vehicle is extremely safe because of the low center of gravity and the additional weight of the lithium ion batteries. There is an incentive program for economy vehicles currently in place nationwide. Plus the regulations and licensing requirements are less stringent for a three wheeler. Visit their web site:


Seating Two, side-by-side
Wheelbase 88 inch
Track: 66 inch
Curb Weight 1300 lb @ 48 H.P. max.
Height 43 inch, about the same as a Corvette.
Engine Kubota D902 tractor engine, rated 24 H.P., and
built like a tank for about $2,500.00.
Motor Advanced DC 8-inch motor, rated 24 H.P., for
about $ 1,500.00.
Transmission VW Type 1

I don't think this vehicle can be built for less than $6,000.00 if you buy the plans and source the parts yourself. A better estimate is maybe a minimum of $9,000.00 to $15,000.00, if a partial and/or full kit becomes available. If there were an angel that made it possible for Mr. Riley to go into production, maybe we might see this vehicle for $20,000.00. That's less than a Honda Goldwing sold for. He's right on schedule for the X Prize!

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