Wärtsilä introduces more powerful version of Wärtsilä 32 engine
Deutsche Bank Forecast sees slower transportation electrification and greater gasoline demand near-term; increased confidence in the pace and breadth of long-term shift to efficient transportation systems

Bombardier Recreational Products and Government of Canada funding C$11.3M project to develop plug-in hybrid Can-Am Spyder roadster with target of 50% reduction in fuel consumption

Maquette of the Can-Am plug-in Hybrid Spyder. Click to enlarge.

The Centre de technologies avancées BRP at the Université de Sherbrooke (CTA) is receiving C$11.3 million (US$11.3 million) in financial support to develop a plug-in hybrid version of BRP’s (Bombardier Recreational Products) Can-Am Spyder roadster. The government’s Automotive Partnership Canada program is contributing $6.2 million and BRP is contributing $5.1 million over a four-year period.

Target features for the hybrid roadster include a 600 cc internal combustion engine and 20 kW continuous power electric motor powered by a Li-ion battery pack that delivers similar acceleration to the Spyder 990 RS roadster. Target range in electric mode is 30 km (20 mi), and total range is targeted to be 600 km (375 mi).

Launched in 2007, the Can-Am Spyder roadster features a distinctive Y-architecture and is he only mass-production, on-road vehicle that is entirely designed and manufactured in Canada.

Our goal is to develop completely new electric hybrid technology for a three-wheel vehicle that uses 50% less fuel and reduces CO2 emissions by 50% while maintaining its speed, power and performance.

—Mihai Rasidescu, president and general manager of the CTA

The project’s research team is led by Professor Alain Desrochers from the Université de Sherbrooke’s Mechanical Engineering Department and includes about 30 people from the University and BRP. The roadster’s compact size poses major challenges, they note; rather than modifying existing hybrid technology, the researchers will design an entirely new propulsion system.

Creating a three-wheel vehicle as opposed to a hybrid car poses significant design challenges that require a very high degree of innovation. These challenges include the lack of space to accommodate hybrid motorization, cooling problems, aerodynamics, vehicle weight, and noise. Everything must be studied and modified.

—Professor Desrochers

Over the next four years the CTA will produce three generations of prototypes and their components. The final product must pass the test in terms of performance, reliability, durability, and economic mass production. Any technological innovations will be potentially transferable to other types of vehicles and products.

The Centre de technologies avancées BRP – Université de Sherbrooke (CTA) is the result of a partnership between BRP and the Université de Sherbrooke. Its mandate is to develop advanced technologies in the field of motorized recreational vehicles. Since it opened in 2006, the CTA has developed two technologies that have been integrated into BRP products: a technology used in manufacturing the hulls of the new generation of Sea-Doo watercraft; and the five-speed semi-automatic transmission available on Can-Am Spyder roadsters. The CTA currently employs more than 70 researchers and students, and expects to become self-financing as of 2011.

The project is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Announced by Minister Clement in April 2009, APC is a five-year, $145-million initiative to support collaborative R&D to drive the Canadian automotive industry to greater levels of innovation.

Industrial partners provide both financial support and essential in-kind contributions to ensure the success of the research projects. Other recently funded APC research projects focus on addressing the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, developing natural gas and diesel engine technologies, and creating on-board storage and reusing waste thermal energy.



This might be an interesting academic exercise...but the marketing & sales of these will be challenging, especially with the hybrid premium and the fact that motorcycles already get a lot better mileage than cars. Improving motorcycle mileage via hybrid probably won't bring the kind of savings you get in the automotive world (like a Prius). I don't think people compare motorcycles for mileage very much the way they do cars. So the market will be very, very small for these...Leonardo Di Caprio et. al.


What people may not realize, this thing has a good shot at eventually going production. As opposed to these pie in the sky startups in California, Bombardier has production experience and assembly lines. As an engineer on a high profile vehicle told me, the big 3 give money to small companies to succeed, many of their ideas fail because in fact they are not ready for prime time. My guess is Bombardier working with these students will be able to filter them from going to solutions that are unobtainium, and much like the my other example only do things that are ready for prime time, yet grab onto their enthusiam and fresh ideas. IMHO fully enclosed for all weather and aero might be more marketable, but that is not the "fun" marketplace that the current Spyder is in.


With many thousands of these fun (expensive) 3-wheelers produced every year, it may be a good test bed for new batteries. The majority is bought by 50 year old teenagers. The ICE only version is much more powerful.

The same e-drive train + batteries could be suitable for small light weight e-cars like the e-Tata.


Bombardier is an impressive company that makes innovative products. U.S. companies should look at them as a model for what to do in the years to come.


Yes an ". . interesting academic exercise" for a toy .


Toy for many 50 years teenagers.

the doctor

I am sure they will sell hundreds.....that being said, unless they develop some new packaging technology that can be used for hybrid cars, its a waste of money. Its not a matter of not being ready for prime time, its a matter of a very, very small specialized market, one that prefers loud, demonstrative vehicles.


Right on doc.

It is not a vehicle - it is money to DEVELOPE one - and a toy at that.


Yes, many of us play with 4 x 4, pick-ups, 2 and 3 wheelers TOYS for many decades. I saw a 80+ years old couple on this 3 wheeler last summer.

I (my ears) would be very pleased when all Harley Davidsons are electrified.

Nat Pearre

EGeek: "IMHO fully enclosed for all weather and aero might be more marketable, "

I agree. I think there is a market for the Aptera / Myers Motors Duo kind of vehicle, and Bombardier clearly has deeper pockets, existing supply chains, and manufacturing experience that could make it happen.

The comments to this entry are closed.