As the images above suggest, the spectrum of vehicles that can use HyKinesys surge power systems extends from vehicles weighing under a ton to those weighing tens of tons, and covers those with top speeds from under 50 mph to over 150. Surge power systems deliver their greatest value when the speed of the host vehicle needs to change frequently, requiring a repetitive sequence of braking and accelerating. A city bus is an ideal host, because it has to stop every few hundred yards, and then accelerate briskly to merge with city traffic, and it typically operates for ten or more hours per day. In contrast, a farm tractor ploughing at a steady 10 mph is not a good candidate.

In a large city bus with a gross weight of 15 tons, a surge power system of 200 kW can provide enough power on its own for the tasks of acceleration and regenerative braking, leaving the engine to provide a steady net flow of energy. The engine only needs to provide enough continuous power to run the HVAC system and top up the surge power system, which should be recycling at least 60% of the kinetic energy of the vehicle. Despite the high frontal area of a bus, because it is moving relatively slowly at city speeds, aerodynamic losses are low, so peak engine power can also low, if the PowerBeam surge power system is providing most of the accelerative power and energy.

As an ideal example, consider a large modern bus currently running on natural gas, with a 9 liter straight six spark ignition engine. Given the bus's high annual mileage, in a few years time it will need a replacement powertrain. This could be a 200 kW PowerBeam paired with a 50 kW continuous SI engine, again running on natural gas. The combination will be designed to fit in the space vacated by the old powertrain. This is feasible because the engine could be as small as one of the new generation of 3-cylinder engines recently announced by BMW, Ford, GM, Mercedes and others, some of which are already in production. This solution may cost no more than a conventional powertrain, but may yield fuel savings worth many thousands of dollars a year, with reduced emissions and CO2 as a direct consequence.

At the other end of the performance and weight spectra, consider a 'junior supercar' with the following characteristics. Imagine the engine has only three cylinders and a capacity of 1.5 liters, delivering a peak of only 100 kW (134 bhp) in turbocharged form. With its small frontal area and sleek design (Cd < 0.22) and its small, frugal engine, it should be able to deliver over 80 mpg, significantly better than any conventional or hybrid sedan. However, when pushed, 'junior' should be able to reach 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds, courtesy of the combination of its 100 kW engine and its 300 kW PowerBeam, and a weight, empty, of less than 900 kg. The total of 400 kW in combination with a gross weight of less than a ton will put it right alongside the most powerful of 'senior supercars', with a power-to-weight ratio of well over 500 bhp per ton. Of course, because it has only 134 bhp of engine power, it won't be able to keep up if the big boys get the opportunity to do more than 140 mph, but who would be foolish enough to try that on the public highway?

So you want to race it? Replace the engine with a 400 bhp four from someone like Mountune and you will have a track day special capable of seeing off almost anything, in the right hands.

We have examined the ends of the spectrum, above. In between are pickup trucks with the ability to yank a big boat out of the water yet do it with a frugal 2 liter engine, and full-sized sedans with even smaller engines capable of out-accelerating V8s at all legal speeds, and many more applications. Now add one or two optional plug-in '20-mile' battery modules, and the MPGe and CO2 become hard to believe.

Forget 'hair shirt' hybrids; 21st century hybrids are on their way.