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Old 10-13-2008, 10:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hybridizing a 2-wheel drive pickup

Hey folks,

There has been some discussion before on this forum about building a hybrid by taking a 2-wheel (front-wheel) drive car, which also had an all-wheel drive version, getting the back axel from the all-wheel, bolting that on, adding a motor, and making a hybrid from it.

I think it's a pretty cool idea.

Also, small pickup trucks make great EV's because they already have the frame and suspension for the battery system.

I was wondering, would it be possible to take a rear-wheel drive truck, put in a front axel from an 4-wheel drive version, put a motor on that, and make it into a hybrid?

I have no idea what this would take. I know nothing about 4-wheel drive trucks, so please tell me to stop fantasizing right now if it's a stupid idea.

Right now, my gas truck is a 1995 Chevy S10 4-cylinder, 5 speed. There is lots of room to work under the hood, because everything else is the same size, but the engine is smaller.

I was just thinking that I already have a truck and it's rear-wheel drive. I already have a full EV (Geo Metro and a motorcycle).

I would just love to get some better fuel economy on the long haul, and maybe I could do it by using electric in town, and save the gas for the highway.

I already know about all the things that need to be a little different for an EV mode, such as having a large vacuum resevoir for the power brakes.

Maybe building myself a hybrid isn't in the so distant future?.....

Anyways, dumb idea or or possible to reasonably do? Like I said, I really don't know anything about 4-wheel drive.

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Old 10-13-2008, 11:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like a great project. Overspeeding is an issue, so you'll want to make sure you get a diff ratio that keeps the motor under its redline at any speed your truck will ever travel. You could probably also adapt one of those "2-speed" rear ends to the front if you want a couple of gear ranges, or even go with a full transmission. (Some Corvettes use a rear-mounted tranny, so if you're short on space up front, you could put the tranny in back and run the driveshaft up to the front diff.)

I'd avoid using a transfer case, since I've heard that they're very inefficient compared to a transmission.

It's hard to swing a large enough EV motor with regen without going to AC (more expensive), but you could then use your deceleration to charge up the batteries--even when you're running on the freeway with the gas motor.
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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yeah, I figured it would be easiest to completely do without any transfer case, and like you said, just need to watch the overspeeding.

Can anyone tell me how much a 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive version of a truck have in common? Would a front axel from a four-wheel pretty much "drop-in" to a two-wheel bay?

I would imagine all the wheel/axel work could be done without having to pull the engine.

The steering would need to be disconnected, so maybe a swap to manual steering could happen at the same time.
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Isn't the simplest approach to install a motor inline with the drive shaft?

That's how NetGain is doing it with their commercial system.

I think this is a NetGain installer:

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Old 10-14-2008, 11:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Of course you could control the motor yourself (instead of the OBD connection and software control that kit has), and shift to N with the ICE off for electric only propulsion.
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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i've been thinking about this same subject for a while now.

here are 2 ideas i've been thinking about (both with manual transmission)....

keeping 2wd:
-mount some heavy-duty sprockets between transmission output and rear driveshaft.
-chain drive to an electric motor sitting either beside the transmission, or in the bed.
-need a "sprag clutch" or something similar, so the electric motor doesn't spin all the time (unless you want it to, this part is unfamiliar territory for me)

4x4 swap:
-some vehicles (like my explorer) have all the brackets ready for 4x4 hardware (to save assembly line costs i assume). find a rig like yours, but 4x4, in a junkyard and grab a tape measure
-install front axle and driveshaft only, no transfer case.
-instead of a transfer case, the front driveshaft connects to your electric motor.


with both setups, my idea is to use electric only (ICE off) for up to a "target speed", say 35 mph. then shift to start gas motor if going faster than that. I like the motor inline with the driveshaft in the video posted above, wonder how that works.

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