After winning the 2002 Tour de Sol, the team asked the question, "Why aren't hybrids more popular?" The unique concept was born - create the World's First Hybrid Supercar - a fast, environmentally friendly hybrid sports car. The team investigated this question during a summer research program. The team found that hybrids offered advances in fuel economy, but were drab and boring. Hybrid technology had not been used to increase performance.
Modern super cars currently rely on huge engines to produce the power required to propel their occupants to breathtaking speeds. The students found that coupling a high efficiency engine with a high output electric motor packaged in a lightweight body would exceed the acceleration of supercars presently available. To achieve this, the students used the K1 Attack as a platform (only 1800lbs) with a VW turbo diesel (150hp) powering the rear wheels, and AC Propulsions electric motor (200hp) powering the front wheels. To keep the weight low, the electric motor would be powered by a 450 volt ultra-capacitor pack (weighing only 200lbs). This configuration would allow the super hybrid to attain an impressive fuel economy of over 50mpg and a zero to sixty acceleration under 4 seconds. Under normal driving conditions, the vehicle will solely be powered by the diesel engine. Therefore, the ultra-capacitor pack needed only to store enough energy for a few minutes of blazing acceleration.
On a shoe-string budget, the team went to work. K1 Engineering donated the frame and the body panels made from 100% carbon fiber (donated by Hexcel). The team bought a used AC Propulsion electric drive system and a used VW TDI. After two years and many hours of design work, fundraising, acquiring parts, and fabrication, the vehicle was finally finished. Due to budget restraints, the ultra-capacitors were never purchased. Instead, the team was forced to use lead acid batteries. Unfortunately after extensive testing, the lead acid batteries could not safely provide the power the electric motor required. Prior to the 2005 Tour de Sol, the battery pack was removed from the vehicle. Prior to the 2006 Tour de Sol, the electric drive system was removed and the Attack competed as just a biodiesel vehicle.