Our Jeep Wrangler gas mileage improvement project is proceeding, albeit slowly. We headed out to SEMA last month to see what the aftermarket options exist to help squeak an extra mile or two out of a gallon of gas. Lo and behold, we quickly tripped into two very cool alternatives that offer a peek into a domestic energy-independent future.
One thing’s for sure. If you’re serious about improving the fuel economy of your Jeep and have serious money to spend the options are out there. The first article in this series mentioned the HPA Motorsports TDI diesel engine swap. We found another cool diesel swap option while scouring the aisles of SEMA’s off-road exhibit hall at the Bruiser Off-Road booth.
Jeep enthusiasts have clamored for a diesel-powered Wrangler for years. While Chrysler has built diesel Wranglers here in the United States, they’ve been export models and have never been sold the to the general public.
Although Bruiser Off-Road’s Cummins 4BT diesel conversion is not intended for on-road use, it offers huge potential for fuel-savings. The 4BT doesn’t just deliver legendary fuel-efficiency. It’s also ideally suited for use with alternative fuels like biodiesel and reclaimed vegetable oil. Farms and businesses that produce their own sustainable fuels can become self-reliant.
The Xtreme Power booth held another remarkable alternative … a plug-in hybrid conversion kit. While Xtreme Power’s Wrangler plug-in hybrid kit is only in the development stage, it holds remarkable promise.
Xtreme Power’s system is designed to be installed in two hours or under. The company claims a 60% improvement in city gas mileage, with an added 350 foot pounds of torque. As Xtreme Power’s Michael Van Steenburg mentions in the video, “the side-effect is performance.” The magic is in a fully-submersible switched reluctance motor. “There’s no cutting or modifying your vehicle of any type. It’s strictly a bolt-in application.”
The XDT8-350 kit has been initially designed for the Ford F-150 EcoBoost. The company claims a total of 770 foot pounds of of peak torque (at wide open throttle), with 36 miles per gallon (MPG) based on the first hundred miles, 15,000 pound towing, a 20-mile all electric range, and a 30-minute charge time with the 16 KW onboard charger. When the battery’s charge has been depleted to a 40 percent state of charge, the system switches into a charge-sustaining hybrid mode. The system uses Xtreme Power’s XP PowerCell lead-acid batteries, with an operating voltage of 48 VDC.
There is no reliance on imported rare earth magnets for the electric motor or lithium for the batteries. The batteries are manufactured in Oklahoma, while the motors and controllers are built in Texas. “We’re trying to keep jobs here in America,” Van Steenburg said.
“You have a safe battery technology, a robust safe motor drive technology, easy installation, and ruggedness that’s going to last you ten plus years, easily Hands down, it’s the solution that everyone’s been looking for.”
– by Daniel Gray