Connaught Type D Performance Hybrid

Connaught is set to offer a hybrid version of its new Type-D GT sports coupe, with deliveries beginning in early 2008.

Utilizing what must be world’s smallest v-10 engine (displacing only 2.0 liters!),the Type D-h can accelerate to 60mph from a standstill in 6.5 seconds and tops out at 140mph. But, thanks to its hybrid powertrain, the vehicle delivers this performance with an average combined fuel economy of 42mpg.

The Connaught hybrid utilizes a CVT transmission to ensure the electric motor always is running at the best speed for the conditions. The automaker appears to be using ultracapacitors alongside batteries in the powertrain as well, writing on its website that “a capacitive and fast charging storage system to respond instantly to big current demands” to aid in sudden acceleration. Built around a lightweight steel space frame with composites and aluminum body panels, the Type D tips the scales at a Lotus-like 1870 pounds, and with a perfect 50-50 front-rear weight distribution.

The engine alone reaches its torque peak at 4000rpm, but with the electric motor assisting its efforts there’s a flat torque curve of 144lb ft from 1000rpm right up to 6000rpm. That strong low-end pull is the secret of the Connaught’s pace, delivering a pulling ability extraordinary for such a compact engine unit. Maximum combined power – 162bhp – arrives at 6000rpm.

When the Type-D is stationary, the petrol engine does not run. The air-conditioning can still operate if needed, though, thanks to that 48-volt electrical system. To move off, you press the clutch pedal down, select a gear, press the accelerator and the engine fires up as you engage the clutch and move away. There’s none of the usual chatter and jerk of a conventional starter, because the electric motor performs the job of starting the engine.

There are three settings for the electric motor: “Sport” mode uses all available motor assistance, but will use up the battery power so it cannot be engaged all the time. The “sport” setting also opens valves in the intake and exhaust system. “Normal” mode adds battery charging on deceleration (regenerative braking) and rations the motor assistance. “Economy” mode maximizes the deceleration charge.

The conventional Type-D GT makes 300bhp, does 0-60mph in under 5 seconds, and is priced at about $120,000. The price for the hybrid Type D-h has not yet been announced.

More at [Connaught Motor Cars]

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