So you got yer gasoline cars, and yer electric cars. And yer extended-range electrics, and yer plug-in hybrids. Sure, old news, been there, done that.

How about an electric car with a gasoline engine you can swap in and out as you need it?

Think of it as a range-extended electric car (like the Chevrolet Volt) that doesn't need to carry around the engine when it's not needed.

The SCI hyMod five-door minicar concept is the brainchild of a Romanian team made up of an engineer, a designer, an automotive journalist (hurray!).

It uses what its designers call a "dedicated logistics center" for the transformation from electric to gasoline, in which the back end of the car containing a battery pack is removed, and replaced with one containing a gasoline engine module that drives the rear wheels.

In normal urban use, the battery pack powers an electric motor that drives the front wheels.

The hyMod combines elements of range-extended electric cars like the Fisker Karma and the Volt, plus a tiny, compact range extender (similar to the one proposed by KSPG in a Fiat 500 electric conversion), and perhaps even the Better Place automated battery-pack swap station.

Right now it's no more than a concept.

But we think it points to the burgeoning choices available in vehicle propulsion that will become available over the next decade.

It's all due to the energy storage capabilities of lithium-ion cells (which will likely improve at roughly 6 to 8 percent a year), combined with increasingly stringent rules on gas mileage (in the U.S.) and carbon emissions (in Europe and Asia).

Watch the video, and then tell us, what do you think? Would you like to have an electric car where you could easily swap in a gasoline engine for long trips?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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