German tuning house Lorinser has announced they've designed and built a conversion kit that will turn petrol or diesel powered cars into plug-in hybrids. Designed for compact cars that must have a rear drum brakes, the Easybird system consists of a regenerative braking system, a 30 kW electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery pack, which is stored underneath the car or in the spare wheel well. Exact details haven't been released yet, but this technology looks promising.
Lorinser is saying they predict the Easybird system will allow a car to up to 19 miles on electricity alone. In addition, the driver can choose from running on electricity, fuel, or a combination of both. The combined mode will allow a car to travel up to around 311 miles. As one can see from these pictures, the company has already tested the system on the Smart for Two, but would also like to see the package offered on the Volkswagen Polo, Renault Twingo, and the Fiat 500.
In order to reduce consumer costs, the company is considering a mobile phone-based approach where energy suppliers would still own the batteries and car owners would simply lease them. Testing on this system is still ongoing, but Lorinser would like to see customer conversions beginning sometime in 2011.