Robert Q. Riley Enterprises: Product Design & Development

Build it yourself from plans


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Town Car on Cover of Mechanix Illustrated Magazine

Side view of Town Car by field.

Cover shot of Town Car on dry lakebed.

Town Car in scene from Total Recall

On set of Total Recall



Uses entire
   VW  drive

   genset output
   to suite your
   range needs

Uses DC    
   for simplicity

New Edition

Expanded listing of EV parts suppliers, plus extensive section on EV and hybrid design. Can modify the genset for more range and match performance to your needs.

Order Online
- or -
by Phone, Fax, or Mail

Plans Include...

 12 - 17x22 in.

 60 page photo-
   illustrated book

Price... $95

Shipping and guarantee info

Frequently Asked Questions


The World's Finest Plans-Built Projects

Robert Q Riley Enterprises


Town Car

A 100-mpg Hybrid-Electric Car You Build from Plans
Featured on the Cover of Mechanix Illustrated Magazine
and In Movie "Total Recall"

Town Car is shown on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated and at Lake El Mirage, CA for the cover shot.

Order Plan Now
- $ 95

Plans Include 12 - 17 x 22 inch Drawings and
an Expanded 60-pg Photo-Illustrated Manual


Order Town Car PlansXR3 Hybrid also on this siteThe idea of a hybrid-electric car naturally evolves from  the basic attractiveness of the electric car itself, which, unfortunately, is limited by a shortfall in battery technology. Town Car is based on a VW Beetle chassis, which has been switched to electric power and fitted with an on-board generator powered by a 3 kW, single-cylinder, industrial engine. A 72 volt, 6 kW Baldor dc motor mounts directly to the VW transaxle using an adaptor plate. All gears, including reverse, are operable.

         The motor is controlled by an off-the-shelf 600 amp chopper controller. In order to leave room for passengers at the center of the platform, most of the car's 12, 6-volt lead/acid batteries are located at the ends - six in front, four in the rear, and two between the rear passengers. The body is made of FRP/urethane foam composite. For more information on body construction techniques, click on One-Off Construction Using FRP/Urethane Foam Composite.

         Town Car's platform offers opportunities for upgrading, depending upon the user's needs and the level of sophistication one is willing to build into the vehicle. To evaluate the options, it helps to first understand the conceptual underpinnings of a hybrid vehicle. Initially, the hybrid was envisioned as essentially a battery-electric vehicle with an on-board heat-engine-powered generator (genset) to extend the range. This implied that the genset would be of minimal output in order to bias the system toward battery-electric power and thereby gain the efficiency of using wall-plug electricity.

         Today's thinking runs more toward a systems approach in which battery power and heat-engine power are designed as an integral system that continuously modulates the bias between the two power systems according to the driving schedule. The battery pack serves more as an energy reservoir, similar to a capacitor, to account for peak demands. The genset is typically configured for higher output, usually equaling or nearly equaling the average power required to drive the vehicle over a particular driving schedule. This approach results in a smaller battery pack consisting of batteries designed for maximum specific power, rather than maximum specific energy. The result is a more energy-efficient and cleaner vehicle (compared to conventional vehicles), and better overall performance and range (compared to battery-electric vehicles).

         As shown in the plans, Town Car's power system is configured as a battery-electric urban vehicle with range augmentation from the genset, which is the most straightforward and simple approach. A builder could, however, change battery, motor, and genset ratings, and install an integrated control system, and thereby change the vehicle's performance profile. Built according to the plans, Town Car has a top speed of 55 mph, a battery-only range of 60 miles, and a genset-assisted range of 100 miles. With the genset operating (it is switched on manually), fuel economy at 35 mph is 100 mpg. By changing battery, motor, and genset ratings/specifications, Town Car's maximum speed, range, and fuel consumption characteristics can be manipulated to suite different requirements.  Town Car's system is similar to the system in the new Volt. 

         For more information on electric vehicles and hybrid system control strategy, see Electric and Hybrid Vehicles: An Overview of the Benefits, Challenges, and Technologies.

         Town Car was featured on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated magazine, and it was used as a background vehicle in the movie Total Recall.



Dimensions and Performance
Length: 176 inches
Width:  72 inches
Height: 49 inches
Front Track: 57 inches
Rear Track: 58 inches
Tire Size: ER60-14 inch radial
Brakes: Drum
Curb Weight: 2500 lbs
Ground Clearance: 6-1/2 inch
Turning Circle: 36 feet
Seating: Four
Battery Range: 60-65 miles
With Genset: 100 miles
Max. Speed: 55 mph
Cruising Speed: 45 mph
Build Time: 400 to 600 man-hours

Propulsion System
: Baldor 7544D, 72-V,"C" face
Rating: 8 hp @ 3400 rpm
Weight: 145 lbs
Batteries: Twelve 6 volt, 244 ah
Controller: 400 amp, 72-v chopper
Genset: Baldor Spec. No. 28B162W132
Weight: 76 lbs
Output: 2500 watts
Engine: Briggs & Stratton #111232 type 0035
Weight: 24-3/4 lbs
Output: 4 hp @ 3600 rpm


The New Edition of the Town Car Plans Includes:



To Order Plans

  • Mail: Use the online Order Form to automatically calculate shipping charges and provide a total amount. Click on the "Order Town Car Plans" link above, then press "Add Item to Cart." Fill in your shipping information. You cannot proceed to the Confirmation Page (for freight calculations) without making entries in the credit card fields. If you prefer to enter your credit card information later, simply enter a series of spaces in the Credit card fields then press "Proceed to Confirmation." Print the Confirmation Page and enter any missing information.  Mail your confirmation page to us, along with your check, money order, or credit card information. (Outside the U.S., please make payment in U.S. funds using a credit card or International Money Order.)

  • Order by Phone:  Weekdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm MST:   480-685-3225.

                     Shipments to U.S. destinations go by First Class or Priority Mail (depending on weight).
                     Shipments to destinations outside the U.S. go by mail: "Airmail, Letter-Post."
                     Arizona residents, add 10.2% sales tax.

Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC.
P.O. Box 14465
Phoenix, AZ 85063-4465
Phone:  480-685-3225


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P.O. Box 14465, Phoenix, AZ 85063-4465
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