I have just come across a UK company that has created a plug-in series hybrid car that has 900 miles range and can do 150mph. It is based on the BMW Mini.
The 900 miles range is achieved by total braking regeneration and a small 250cc petrol generator. Without the generator operating, the car has about a 200 mile range from its lithium-polymer batteries which is suitable for 99% of the time, I would suspect.
The vehicle has 4 hub-mounted 160bhp motors giving a total of 640bhp, which explains the 150mph top speed and the 4.5sec 0-60mph time. This might sound excessive, but, correct me if I am wrong, I'd say this explains the ability to perform total regeneration. A feeble car like the Prius can NEVER regenerate sufficiently as its motor can only generate so much power and so only suck back in so much power. This puppy can suck back in 640bhp during braking and I suspect a little more for short spells. I'd think twice when sitting at the top of some gorge in the South of France with a full battery, though - where is all the energy to go? (it has no mechanical brakes!).
From what I can gather, the vehicle has significant trickery in the motor and battery management, vital to be able to shove back in all that power during braking and to be able to pull out the maximum energy without melting the battery pack. This is the real sauce that makes the dish, I suspect. That, and making the hub motors last long enough - the unsprung wheel rim is not the ideal place for delicate electronics!
Still, the basic concept of generator charging a battery and having 4 hub-mounted electric motors giving rapid performance is not entirely new. Ferdinand Porsche built such a vehicle while working for the Lohner company...in 1903. The vehicle had a 40 mile battery-only range and could achieve 70mph...in 1903 remember.
The 1903 Lohner-Porsche 4x4 series petrol-electric hybrid.
This undermines the anti-car lobby somewhat. On your marks, sandalistas and lentilists! Ready, steady...chew those carpets!
p.s. BMW (UK) have asked the creators at PML to say they have nothing to do with it and to convert your Mini would invalidate the warranty. Well, remind me to tell them to go shove their collective, unimaginative heads up a dead polar bear's bum.