Delhi will need radical measures to tackle its air pollution problem and the Delhi government’s odd-even initiative is a just one of the many things that can be done. IP university graduate Nikhil Khurana seems to think he has a better alternative — get more cars to go hybrid.
Hybrid cars run on more than one energy source, for instance petrol plus electricity, and also fall under the exempted categories in Delhi’s odd-even scheme. In India, the options available in the market under clean/alternative fuel category are rather few and some of these vehicles are priced beyond the reach of a regular customer.
However, 23-year-old Khurana has developed a ‘Hybrid car conversion kit’ which can convert a normal car into a hybrid for around Rs 1 lakh. “This is our published patent technology and apart from providing a clean or alternative fuel technology, the hybrid kit also increases the mileage of a car by 40 per cent and reduces its running cost by 30 per cent,” says Khurana.
So, how does it work?
After the hybrid car conversion kit designed by Folks Motor — a company set-up by Khurana with his friends — is installed, the vehicle can be easily run on either fuel or power modes. “Currently we are offering fuel plus electric kits as the government regulation doesn’t allow us to use this technology with CNG,” he says. “Once the car is running, the batteries get charged automatically and can be used to drive the vehicle at a maximum speed of 60 km/hour.” So, if a car runs around 10 km on fuel then it can run for 4 km on the batteries improving the total mileage by 40 per cent,” he adds. The battery charges to its maximum limit if the car runs for 70-75 km and gives extra mileage of 30-35 km.
Khurana said they have a security module system along with the kit which makes it safe to use. Also, the technology does not impact overall performance of the vehicle because the engine is not touched during the installation process.
Khurana says, “It’s a zero maintenance product and we will give a one-year warranty on mechanical and electrical performance. Also, we are also planning to give a lifetime replacement warranty for our first few customers.” The kit provides an optional Automatic Drive Mode and the vehicle, once put on electric mode, can be driven without using the gears.
CNG vs Hybrid
When it comes to alternative fuel, CNG is the most widely used across the country and in Delhi. However, Khurana claims that the hybrid technology can be a better option because of various reasons. “Earlier a CNG kit used to reduce the engine performance and resale value of a car. Also, there is a limited availability when it comes to CNG fuel stations. On the other hand, the hybrid car batteries get recharged automatically,” he said.
Also, in comparison to CNG kits which take up around 100 per cent boot space of the cars, the hybrid kit only takes up 20 per cent.
Having started his work on hybrid technology during first semester, Nikhil says he was ready with the concept in just six months. He approached a number of automobile giants and financiers for collaboration, but it got turned down by almost all of them. “I failed in the second year of my college because I spent all my time working on this product. Later, my father helped me out with the initial amount and we also got a manufacturing partner who provided us with the space to carry out our trials.”
The first experiment I did was on a Maruti 800 which was also bought by my sister with her salary and we were able to successfully install the kit in the car. By the middle of 2015, I had completed all my trials,” told Khurana.
Nikhil is now confident about rolling out his product in the market by the end of this year and is looking to target the educated commuter in Delhi.