August 20, 2008 Here's one for the dedicated back-yard mechanic. Arizona based Robert Q. Riley Enterprises has now released construction plans based on the completed prototype of its do-it-yourself, two-passenger, XR3 plug-in hybrid, a vehicle that's capable of up to 225 miles per gallon, has a top speed of 80 mph and acceleration comparable to a conventional small car. The USD$200 instructional package for the modular, three-wheeled sportscar includes printed drawings, electronic 3D virtual models, computer files that enable vendors to make parts plus a DVD that outlines the building of the car.
Like the Aptera Typ-1 and ZAP's Alias, the XR3 design uses a two-at the front three-wheeled layout and the platform can be used to create either a 100-mile-range, battery-only vehicle, a 125-mpg, 3-cylinder diesel-only vehicle or a hybrid of the two. The car's Li-Ion battery will charge to 80 percent in 1.5 hours via an ordinary wall socket and the hybrid system is simple - no computer controls are needed because the systems are not integrated as such, with the two front wheels powered by the combustion engine and the rear wheel connected to the electric drive. According to Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, using only battery power will deliver a 40-50 mile range whilst using the diesel system can deliver up to 375 miles on three gallons of fuel. The impressive efficiency is achieved through a combination of the hybrid-technology and a very light curb weight of just 1480 pounds.
So where do you go once you've got your hands on a set of plans? At this stage the XR-3 can be built just as the prototype was built (apparently the two prototyping technicians who built the XR3 had no prior experience with fiberglass) and kits including pre-molded panels are on the agenda. Flexibility is at the core of the DIY concept with numerous options for customization, including a removable canopy that allows for a "roadster" variation to be built. The planning kit is also designed to provide enough knowledge to enable you to modify your own car in order to boost fuel efficiency. Further details and information on ordering can be found at the company's website.