BRP Developing Hybrid Can-Am Spyder

Canadian government and Bombardier investing $11M into research

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Dec. 22, 2010
Bombardier Recreational Products is developing hybrid engine technology for its three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder.

BRP is investing CN$5.1 million (US$5 million) into the Centre de Technologies Avancees BRP at Quebec’s Université de Sherbrooke to fund development of the hybrid engine technology. The Canadian government’s Automotive Partnership Canada program will add an additional CN$6.2 million (US$6.1 million) into the four-year project.

“Our mandate is ambitious and complex,” says Mihai Rasidescu, president and general manager of the CTA. “Our goal is to develop completely new electric hybrid technology for a three-wheel vehicle that uses 50% less fuel and reduces CO2 emissions by 50% while maintaining its speed, power and performance.”

hybrid Can-Am Spyder Roadster

The project will be led by Alain Desrochers, a professor in the Université de Sherbrooke’s mechanical engineering department. Desrochers will lead a team of 30 people from the university and BRP.

The Can-Am Spyder roadster poses a challenge for the team, as its size means researchers can’t just modify existing hybrid technology from automobiles. Researchers will need to develop an entirely new drive train with new components.

“Creating a three-wheel vehicle as opposed to a hybrid car poses significant design challenges that require a very high degree of innovation,” says Desrochers. “These challenges include the lack of space to accommodate hybrid motorization, cooling problems, aerodynamics, vehicle weight, and noise. Everything must be studied and modified.”

The final product will also meet performance, reliability and durability standards while keeping costs reasonable for mass production.

“By deciding to establish R & D centres, BRP confirmed its commitment to accelerate the development of cleaner and more efficient new technologies,” says José Boisjoli, president and chief executive officer of BRP. “The powertrain technologies used in our snowmobiles, side-by-side vehicles, and outboard engines are already the best in the industry in terms of fuel consumption, and are milestones towards our goal of providing consumers with increasingly eco-performing technology.”

Piaggio MP3 Hybrid 300ie

BRP won’t be the first to bring a hybrid three-wheeler to market however. That distinction belongs to Piaggio which introduced a hybrid version of its MP3 three-wheeled scooter. While Piaggio’s MP3 Hybrid 300ie claims performance levels similar to a 400cc gas scooter, BRP’s goal is to match the performance of a 990cc V-Twin powered Can-Am Spyder.

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