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Somerville Company Converts Existing Cars Into Hybrids

SOMERVILLE (CBS) - For a Somerville start-up company, rising fuel costs are just what the doctor ordered.

XL Hybrids is a new company that retrofits existing cars with electric motors and batteries, effectively turning them into hybrids.

"There are 250 million vehicles on the road right now, and our system will be easily integrated," says company president Tod Hynes.

WBZ-TV's Bill Shields reports.

XL Hybrids was founded by a group of MIT grads, who saw the need, and the opening. They're outfitting Lincoln Town Cars with the system, which is basically a heavy-duty electric motor, connected to the drivetrain and a bunch of lithium batteries.

When the car accelerates, the electric motor kicks in, assisting the gasoline engine, giving it more miles per gallon (MPG).

"Limo drivers put a lot of miles on their cars, some as much as a 100,000 a year," says Justin Ashton, "and with our system, they can see fuel savings of anywhere from 15% to 30%."

Right now, XL Hybrids is only working on town cars, but down the road, they plan on gearing up to outfit fleet vans and eventually, the everyday car.

No pricing has been determined, but costs for the transformation are expected to be under $8,000.

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