Video: Jay Leno Reviews Ricardo HyBoost

Jay Leno’s garage is never short on amazing vehicles with loads of historical or performance pedigrees melded into every component. But Jay’s latest guest car is a vehicle with loads of future potential for the mainstream market, though it’s not much to look at.

Starting with a stock Euro-spec Ford Focus , the folks at Ricardo replaced the car’s standard 2.0-liter Duratec inline four cylinder with a 1.0-liter I-4 with a few tricks up its sleeve. The engine features a regular turbocharger, along with an electric supercharger in a setup much like the McLaren P1 . (Ricardo helped develop the battery management software for the P1) Designed as a torque fill, the supercharger is powered by electricity stored in super capacitors. Once the driver hits the gas, the supercharger responds within 200 milliseconds, providing boost until the turbo spools up. Once the turbo is pressurized, the supercharger is turned off.

A belt-starter generator running off the engine powers the super capacitors. And because the 1.0-liter is has a stop/start feature, the capacitors also power the belt-starter generator to restart the engine.

Perhaps the two most impressive aspects of the HyBoost system are its efficiency and overall cost. The old 2.0-liter engine averaged around 32 mpg, but the HyBoost improves on that by an impressive 47 percent – meaning the new powertrain achieves roughly 47 to 50 mpg and nearly 60 mpg highway. Then there’s cost. Somehow, Ricardo is potentially able to include this system in a car for roughly $1,100 over its original sticker price.

Though the powertrain is more efficient, it hasn’t given up any performance over the larger 2.0-liter. The setup makes 143 horsepower at 5,500 and still runs the same 9.2-seconds to 60 mph.

We wouldn’t be surprised to find this technology making its way into products in the next few years. As Jay points out in the video, nothing on the car is break-through technology. All the components were pre-existing, so it’s proven technology and should be easy to manufacture.


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