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Genovation G2 Plug-In Hybrid

The Genovation G2 Plug-In Hybrid is one of a new generation of innovative, green plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that runs on batteries that can be charged from a regular wall power socket, as well as from other sources. The company exists to develop and produce PHEVs for the typical environmentally caring family, using safe new technologies. The PHEV is not a new concept, but the Genovation G2 doesn't just focus on isolated, experimental aspects of the design.

Genovation has defined a set of factors it takes into account when evaluating technologies for its G2. These are what it calls its SCWARE factors, from the initial letters of Safety, Cost, Weight, Availability, Reliability, and Ease of use and maintenance. The company built up a level of expertise with its G1 vehicles, which were modified, pre-owned, Ford Focus cars. These had the internal combustion engine replaced by components to drive the engine electrically, giving buyers the opportunity to own a car that looked conventional but was electrically powered.

Not only is the G2 powered by batteries, but all aspects of the design are being looked at to see where natural and recycled materials can be used. Bamboo and jute fibres, bonded with soy based resins are being considered for the manufacture of body panels. Carpeting made of recycled plastic bottles will be marketed as proof of the G2's green credentials, rather than as a cost-saving measure. The company feels that many existing big name car makers consider the use of these materials as a green step too far. These companies are not prepared to settle for the color inconsistency that can result from recycled materials.

The Genovation G2 Plug-In Hybrid, in common with other hybrid vehicles, includes a gasoline powered engine. This acts as what the manufacturer terms a range extender. This 3-cylinder engine, custom designed by Lotus, drives an electric generator. If you're driving long distances, the extender will kick in and charge the batteries while you travel. Note that the gas engine never drives the wheels directly, it only ever turns the generator to charge the batteries. Weighing just over 1.5 tons, the car will go from 0-60mph in just under 7.5 seconds.

A major technological challenge has been the development of a thermal management system for energy efficiency through optimum use of heat. Where the heat is generated as a by-product, from the motor and from the inverter, for instance, it can be used for passenger comfort and for keeping batteries above freezing before charging in sub-zero temperatures. The main objective is to prevent heat energy being wasted by sending it into the atmosphere.

The Genovation G2 Plug-In Hybrid is driven by AC induction electric traction motors which are controlled from the inverter. This device generates AC power using the direct current of the batteries. The main power batteries are Lithium Iron Phosphate, the only type Genovation consider safe under their SCWARE factors. The auxiliary batteries that power the vehicle's control and entertainment circuits are 12v types charged from the high voltage batteries via a DC-DC converter. The finishing touch comes in the shape of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System that takes the energy derived from braking to drive the induction motors as generators to charge the batteries.