I was thinking the other day about the possibility of taking something like a Ford Escape or Honda Element or CRV (Pretty much any compact SUV that is offered in AWD) and drive the rear wheels with an electric motor while retaining the gasoline engine in front making some kind of manually operated “hybrid”.
A Scion XB would be even better since it’s about 1000 lbs lighter than the other options but it might take more fabrication since there’s no AWD option and I’d have a hard time finding a direct bolt in RWD axle assembly. Maybe there’s some other toyota IRS running gear that would come close to bolting in back there.
I know this would be quite heavy for an EV but it could be really practical. You could just push the vehicle around in electric mode with the transmission in neutral for a short daily commute but still retain the gasoline engine for longer trips and even idle it to run the A/C and heating (Maybe even re-supply the battery bank from the alternator) when necessary. And, if you run out of battery power just start the engine and shift into drive.
Has this been done? Is it even feasible? I was thinking I’d start with a 2wd version and find a junkyard rear AWD axle and then power it directly with the electric motor. Is a 3-4:1 or so (Whatever the rear diff ratio is) an acceptable drive ratio for an electric vehicle motor or would that need to be more like 1:1?