XL Hybrids, based in Somerville, MA, has developed a technology to convert existing conventional vehicles into hybrid electric vehicles by installing a simple add-on kit that reduces fuel consumption by 15-30%.

The installation takes about 6 hours to integrate the electric motor under the car and a lithium ion battery pack snuggly tucked into the trunk, while still leaving ample space for luggage.

Though the hybrid conversion can be applied to any car, XL Hybrids focuses on fleets of Town Cars as an appropriate first client base for the technology: Town Cars have a niche market providing luxury comfort and spaciousness, however they have very low efficiency (13-15 miles/gallon).  And drivers of Town Cars are usually doing a lot of miles and a lot of city miles, so they are particularly sensitive to fuel economics.

The hybrid conversion for a Town Car will pay for itself within 24 months, so for an existing Town Car that will be on the road for another 3-5 years, the hybrid conversion is a great investment, especially with rising gas prices.

I think this is a really cool and pragmatic business plan - for today.  But is there a growth market?  I assume that in 5 years, all new Town Cars (and cars general) will be hybrid or will have higher efficiencies, making this sort of "add-on" technology less attractive.  What then?  I'm sure the guys at XL Hybrids have it figured out.  We'll just have to wait and see!