Sector: LPG

The HEVTE gets converted to run on LPG

Upon seeing the above title, you probably started wondering what in the world HEVTE is. Why, of course it's NAFTC's training prop, now converted to run on autogas by ICOM North America. Still clueless, but curious nonetheless? Read on!
The HEVTE prop car© NAFTCHybrid or not, if it has a combustion engine, it can be converted to run on LPG autogas

Let's first explain what the mysterious abbreviations stand for, shall we? HEVTE is the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Training Educator (i.e. a vehicle "dissected" to demonstrate how a hybrid car is built and works), while NAFTC is the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. The thing is, the former has been equipped with an LPG autogas system to show a few things: how an LPG system works and how to convert a petrol-electric car to further boost savings on fuel and reduce emissions.

What's the HEVTE's purpose?

The vehicle, essentially a Toyota Prius cut open, is obviously not road legal, but that's hardly the point. The point is to offer students a more hands-on approach, giving what they learn in theory a practical aspect. Now that the HEVTE has been converted to run on autogas, it can be used for a broader scope of trainings, now including the Propane Autogas Vehicle Technician Training, funded by PERC (the Propane Education and Research Council).

Trainees gathered around the HEVTE© NAFTCA hybrid converted to run on LPG isn't something you see everyday, especially not exposed like this

The conversion, while interesting in its own right, since autogas-powered hybrid cars are still few and far between, goes to prove one thing: LPG in the US is becoming popular enough to motivate training programmes for young technicians. The autogas sector will not flourish properly without well-educated professionals to properly diagnose and repair any technical issues that may occur, as they do with all sorts of vehicles, regardless of the fuel they use.

Who performed the conversion?

As for the HEVTE itself, it spent a few days at the ICOM North America HQ in New Hudson, MI. Not only was a liquid-state LPG injection system fitted, but also the car received a state-of-the-art "bug box" to detect and diagnose glitches and problems both in the autogas system and in the hybrid powertrain. The resulting vehicle is super-thrifty, since after all it's a hybrid using its electric motor as much as possible and running on affordable and clean LPG instead of petrol every time the combustion engine kicks in. If you ask us, conversions of petrol-electric cars will become popular over the next few years, because no matter how economical hybrids are, people will always seek ways to further reduce their fuel bills.

NAFTC’s cutaway Prius is a great example of our ability to work together for advanced alternative fuels systems training. The system starts on gas, converts to autogas and then goes into a hybrid mode when necessary, and from there on out it’s always going to autogas and battery.

ICOM Technical Manager Albie Venezio


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Robert Markowski
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