Hybrid technology is evolving faster than … well, a hybrid supercar. Surprisingly, hybridization is not all about gas savings. Sometimes it’s about performance. Engineering firm Ricardo re-jiggered a Ford Focus and the result is a car that can achieve 50 to 60 miles per gallon.
Ricardo specializes in downsizing engines and boosting them electrically… with a supercharger. In this specific model shown to Jay Leno, Ricardo took the stock 2.0-liter engine out and replaced it with a 1.1-liter.
The new, smaller displacement engine is turbocharged and electrically supercharged. The turbocharger adds power and acts as a generator, turning exhaust energy into electricity. This electricity is then sent to super-capacitors that hold the charge. When the car starts, the electric supercharger kicks in and provides low-rpm torque until the turbocharger spools up. The clever arrangement is called “Hyboost”.
Ricardo isn’t the first firm to implement such a powertrain setup. As you may know McLaren’s P1 utilizes the same electric supercharger setup. In fact, Ricardo was instrumental in engineering the exact system for the McLaren P1.
Unlike the $1-million McLaren P1, Ricardo’s Hyboost upgrade is set at an affordable $1,100. Hyboost turns the Ford Focus into a sporty, gas-sipping economy vehicle. To get the full story on Hyboost watch the video below with Jay Leno.