By Bill Shields, WBZ-TVBy Bill Shields

SOMERVILLE (CBS) – For a Somerville start-up company, rising fuel costs are just what the doctor ordered.

XL Hybrids is a new company that retrofits existing cars with electric motors and batteries, effectively turning them into hybrids.

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“There are 250 million vehicles on the road right now, and our system will be easily integrated,” says company president Tod Hynes.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports.

XL Hybrids was founded by a group of MIT grads, who saw the need, and the opening. They’re outfitting Lincoln Town Cars with the system, which is basically a heavy-duty electric motor, connected to the drivetrain and a bunch of lithium batteries.

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When the car accelerates, the electric motor kicks in, assisting the gasoline engine, giving it more miles per gallon (MPG).

“Limo drivers put a lot of miles on their cars, some as much as a 100,000 a year,” says Justin Ashton, “and with our system, they can see fuel savings of anywhere from 15% to 30%.”

Right now, XL Hybrids is only working on town cars, but down the road, they plan on gearing up to outfit fleet vans and eventually, the everyday car.

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No pricing has been determined, but costs for the transformation are expected to be under $8,000.

Bill Shields