Automotive

Chrysler announces development of hydraulic hybrid technology for cars

This is the first mock-up of the new hydraulic hybrid engine
This is the first mock-up of the new hydraulic hybrid engine
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This is the first mock-up of the new hydraulic hybrid engine
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This is the first mock-up of the new hydraulic hybrid engine
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat-Chrysler, at the announcement
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Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat-Chrysler, at the announcement

Chrysler caught everyone off guard this week when it announced a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to design and develop an experimental hydraulic hybrid powertrain suitable for use in large passenger cars and light-duty vehicles. The aim is to have a running demonstration vehicle based on the current minivan sometime during 2012. EPA has been involved in trials with Eaton Corporation of the company’s hydraulic launch assist technology for trucks.

The announcement was made at the EPA laboratories in Ann Arbor, Mich., following a meeting with Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group CEO, and Lisa P. Jackson, Agency Administrator for the EPA.

“In addition to creating the jobs of the future, clean energy benefits the U.S. economy by ultimately making energy costs more affordable for consumers – especially if their dollars stay in America,” Marchionne said. “Hydraulic hybrid vehicle technology is one more promising path worth pursuing in the effort to reduce our carbon footprint, and we are excited to partner with the EPA to push forward on this track.”

"Hydraulic hybrid vehicles represent the cutting edge of fuel-efficiency technology and are one of many approaches we're taking to save money for drivers, clean up the air we breathe and cut the greenhouse gases that jeopardize our health and prosperity,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The EPA and Chrysler are working together to explore the possibilities for making this technology affordable and accessible to drivers everywhere. This partnership is further proof that we can preserve our climate, protect our health and strengthen our economy all at the same time."

The hydraulic hybrid system, developed by the EPA's lab in Ann Arbor, is well known and currently used in industrial applications, including large delivery trucks and refuse trucks across the country. The technology has shown substantial increases in fuel economy when compared with traditional powertrains in the same type of vehicles. Working together, both parties hope to reduce the size and complexity of the hybrid system and produce a technology that is sensitive to the needs of drivers for smooth and quiet operation.

The research project will focus on adapting the hydraulic hybrid system to a Chrysler Town & Country minivan equipped with a 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder gasoline engine.

The system produces power with engine torque driving a hydraulic pump that charges the high pressure accumulator of up to 5,000 p.s.i. The high-pressure accumulator delivers the pressure energy to the axle hydraulic motor, giving the vehicle power to drive the wheels. The gas engine will remain off if the accumulator charge is sufficient to drive the motor.

“In this hydraulic hybrid project, the Chrysler Group and EPA will evaluate and, hopefully, validate fuel-efficiency gains and greenhouse gas reductions,” Marchionne said. “One of the aims of Chrysler Group’s integration efforts will be to meet driver expectations for smooth and quiet operation, so that Americans will want to buy and will enjoy driving vehicles with this technology.”

“The Chrysler Group has actively adopted fuel-saving technologies including cylinder deactivation on V-8 engines, a new MultiAir system that is being introduced on the Fiat 500 and will introduce an eight-speed transmission in the 2011 Chrysler 300 that will be introduced later this year. Chrysler Group also will introduce 150 Ram 1500 trucks with a plug-in hybrid system in the coming months as part of a project with the U. S. Department of Transportation.”

14 comments
Bear.in.camo
Ford proposed this back in 2001(If I remember the year correctly) But I am glad to see someone utilizing it finally. I think it should be a much less costly alternative to fuel/electric hybrids. Although the trade off is that its not as affective as a diesel-electric or even the less effective gasoline-electric vehicles. The biggest advantages over electric is the size and durability; which are necessary for industrial applications. ( See Gizmag article about the Ford concept here: http://www.gizmag.com/go/1194/ )
Bear.in.camo
Here are two more related articles. Chrysler will need to be quick about this or Ford will beat them to the punch. And with this news now released about Chrysler\'s research Ford will move into high gear. I love technology competition like this! Because WE reap the benefits. http://www.gizmag.com/go/3129/ http://green.autoblog.com/2007/11/29/detroit-2008-preview-2009-ford-f-150-could-add-hydraulic-launch/
Facebook User
This is impressive. Working around compressed-air tools in the Coast Guard gave me an appreciation for pneumatic and hydraulic technology as systems for energy storage and transmission. I\'ve seen pneumatic car designs before, but they have limited range and utility. A gasoline-hydraulic hybrid has a lot of potential, and circumvents some of the issues with gasoline-electric systems (such as battery production waste products).
abe
www.lightninghybrids.com already has a retrofit for trucks. Why not just use it. Going with the EPA sound just like a press release. I hope it truly moves forward. My caravan gets 15/27 real world, this would make it more like 25/27 to haul 7 people around, sounds like a winner. Hydraulic hybrids are cheaper, use less metals, should last longer.
Wombat56
Fron Wikipedia: Hydraulic hybrid is a type of regenerative braking system that uses pressurized fluid, instead of electric power, as an additional or alternative power source to the engine. I don\'t think the article above actually says what the technology is.
kcheartwoods
Knew a man in [South MO] who built a car that had hydraulic motors at the wheels, had a small gas engine [concept of a skidsteer bobcat], drove it to CA and back on approximately 3 gallons of gas ..tried to market/sell to the BigBoys and had the \'men in black\' come down on him. Oh, they didn\'t take or destroy his car, but under threat of death of self and loved ones, he was told to remain silent. He finally \'junked\' it in a nearby small town salvage yard. 4000 miles on 3 gallons. No, they\'re not trying to give us the best for our money and planet ..just trying to give it to us in increments. Gotta have something better to sell us next year too. He\'s since died but perhaps his son or family might have the documentation. Would love to put this together w/someone that would follow thru. Of course, this would upset the \'establishment\' of monied.
Adrian Akau
\"The heart of the system is a six piston radial digital displacement hydraulic pump/motor. This hydraulic motor replaces the port plates and swash plates in conventional hydraulic machines with computer controlled high-speed solenoid valves. Driven by a microprocessor, these solenoids actively control poppet valves that rectify the flow into and out of each cylinder. The hydraulic pump attaches to the flywheel an conventional combustion motor replacing the gearbox. It is hydraulically connected to Digital Displacement Motors coupled to the wheels, so the only connection between the internal combustion motor and the wheels is the hydraulic system.\" The above is a description of a hydraulic system which doubled the mpg for a car driven in the sity. I don\'t fully understand it myself. I think that this system should work well with large trucks and buses which operate in cities.
napaeric
Random thoughts, hydrolic energy is similar to electric energy. It is a means of convience. Both can be efficient or not. Take your average AC motor and put an amp meter on it, run it with NO load and see how efficient it is. Take a DC motor and run it the same and you will see a dramatic decrease in energy used to produce nothing. Take and air compressor and run the same test. You will see that it is very wasteful to use energy to do nothing. The point is to use the energy efficiently. The next point is to use the energy to find more energy without making a mess of things. A thousand points of light all pointed away from what you need to see are a thousand wasted points of light.
Facebook User
Nothing really new here with Chrysler\'s deal. http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Transportation/1978-03-01/This-Car-Travels-75-Miles-on-a-Single-Gallon-of-Gasoline.aspx
splatman
@napaeric \"Take your average AC motor and put an amp meter on it, run it with NO load and see how efficient it is. Take a DC motor and run it the same and you will see a dramatic decrease in energy used to produce nothing.\" Inaccurate! An ammeter will measure current, not power. With AC Watts are NOT volts x amps. You need to take into account Power Factor. An unloaded AC motor has a very low power factor. Google and learn!