Lightning Hybrids LH3 Concept preview

Concept Cars 17 Mar 2009
Lightning Hybrids LH3 Concept preview

At the Denver Auto Show Lightning Hybrids will unveil the first prototype of a futuristic sedan powered by a 2-stroke engine running biodiesel coupled with a hydraulic hybrid powertrain capable of reaching 100 mpg. Production is expected to begin in 2010.

Lightning Hybrids LH4 ConceptLightning Hybrids is an automotive research and manufacturing company that is developing two 100 MPG hydraulic-biodiesel hybrid cars – the LH3 and LH4.

Prototype manufacturing began in January 2009 with early models planned for completion for the Denver Auto Show (1-5 April 2009) and manufacturing expected to begin in Loveland, Colorado in 2010.

The model will be powered by a 90 HP Diesel/BioDiesel engine currently rated at 90 MPG in Europe, mated in parallel to a 150 HP Hydraulic motor/pump and accumulator system.

The parallel system will provide 0-60 MPH in less than 6 seconds, and an estimated top speed of 110 MPH.

The structure is a chrome molybdenum tubular chassis, which could by replaced in the future by a full carbon fiber monocoque.

Lightning Hybrids LH4 Concept Rendering Lightning Hybrids LH4 Concept Rendering Lightning Hybrids LH4 Concept Rendering

According to the company’s plans, the first cars will be available in 2010 and will sell for $39,000-$59,000.


Lightning Hybrids LH4 PrototypeLightning Hybrids has developed a unique and ultra-fast design-to-prototype process. By leveraging CAD and CAM systems throughout the entire design process, a large 5-axis Router, and a proprietary approach to molding and layup, LHI can go from designing to having production body parts in less than a week. This allows for ultra fast design iteration, and the ability to develop a variety of options and configurations, with a relatively small investment.

Future technological innovations include many patent-pending solutions with which Lightning Hybrids is participating in the international Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.

The most significant is Sam Johnson’s design of an integrated hydraulic axial piston engine, which features:

  • 100 HP and 100 Lbs
  • biodiesel or diesel
  • true cylinder deactivation for high part load efficiency
  • no transmission
  • no valves, flywheel or crankshaft weights
  • 150 MPG

Additional information is available on, while the development of the prototype can be followed on the company’s weblog.

(Source: Lightning Hybrids via

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