In 1980, way before hybrid and electric vehicles become a thing… engine builder, Briggs & Stratton, have conceived a six-wheeled hybrid vehicle. TBH, I have never heard of Briggs & Stratton, let alone that it actually had a hybrid concept way back in 1980. In 1980! Imagine that! Now, that’s forward thinking.
Of course, there were other hybrids and even full-on electric from way before the 80s, but we are not going into that. Anywho, thanks to Jay Leno’s Garage, we now know Briggs & Stratton and its ahead-of-its-time 1980 hybrid.
This Briggs & Stratton Hybrid is running on what is known as “parallel drive”, which basically allows it run on either electric or ICE. The latter is a humble air-cooled 18 HP Briggs & Stratton Model 42 twin-cylinder engine with its own accessory battery, mated to a four-speed manual transmission.
It is a rear, but not so rear wheel drive because, the engines drive the center axle only. The rear wheels are basically idle wheels and so are the front. Why it has six wheels then? Well, back then, before lithium-ion becomes was invented (that was 1985, btw), the electric motor is powered by, wait for it… lead acid batteries and in the case of this example, it has a whopping 12 units.
To handle the extra weight from the 12 lead acid batteries, the third axle was conceived. You have to admit it is actually pretty clever. Despite it being juiced by an old battery tech, the electric-only range is a respectable 40-60 miles (64-97 kilometers). Surprise. Surprise.
You can learn more about the 1980 Briggs & Stratton Hybrid Concept from Jay Leno’s interview with Briggs & Stratton’s engineering technician, Craig Claerbout, as well as see this one-of-a-kind concept in action in the video below.
Images and source: YouTube (Jay Leno’s Garage).