January 6

A company in Austria believes that they can make the Tesla Model 3 “better and cheaper,” and they demonstrated their technology in a prototype by adding a two-cylinder petrol engine and removing some batteries in the Model 3 — creating the worst Tesla ever.

Obrist Powertrain, the brainchild of engineer Frank Obrist, developed what they claim to be a “Zero Vibration Generator,” which is a small two-cylinder petrol engine with an output of 40 KW/54 HP and a weight of only 95 kg.

The engineer believes that all-electric vehicles are too expensive, and that the best way to make them cheaper is by reducing their electric range and adding a small petrol motor, which is basically a plug-in hybrid, but Obrist calls it “hyper hybrid.”

Along with the engine, Obrist’s company also developed a 17.3 kilowatt-hours (kWh) battery pack that weighs 98 kg.

He believes that combining the two small and light power sources inside a Tesla Model 3 would result in a better, cheaper car, and he claims to have demonstrated it with the “Obrist Mark II” Tesla Model 3 prototype (pictures by Thorsten Rixmann via Edison):

With the new engine in the frunk and the smaller battery pack, Obrist claims that the vehicle can travel 100 km (62 miles) on electric range, and up to 1,000 km (621 miles) with the petrol engine.

That all-electric range has its limitations, since the engine kicks in to recharge the battery when the vehicle drives at more than 65 km/h (40 mph).

Obrist decided to showcase its technology in the Model 3, a very efficient and aerodynamic car, but they intend to supply their powertrain to other car manufacturers.

In an article published by Edison, they claim to have signed with a “prominent international market player,” and a second license agreement will be completed shortly.

The company expects the first production cars with its powertrain to be on the road by 2023.

Electrek’s Take

I don’t want to be too harsh on the man since, at the end of the day, he still has the same goal as all of us — making the automotive sector cleaner — but that’s not how you do it in my opinion.

He invented a hybrid — just a potentially slightly more efficient one, but you are still burning fossil fuels whenever you go over 65 km/h.

Long term, that’s not going to work.

Yes, all-electric vehicles are more expensive, but the costs are clearly trending down, and their impact, when powered by electricity created by renewable energy, is much greater than a hybrid.

Hybrids were a useful transition to all-electric for some people, but by 2023, I don’t think anyone will find it to be a good option for a powertrain.

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