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Posted on January 21, 2011 by  & 

EPA and Chrysler to bring hybrid technology to the street

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set up a cooperative agreement with Chrysler to develop and adapt hydraulic hybrid technology for the light duty auto market. The goal of this partnership is to design a Chrysler minivan as a demonstration vehicle, using EPA's own patented technology. It is anticipated that the hydraulic hybrid technology will increase overall fuel efficiency 30-35 percent - 60 percent city driving - and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. Increasing efficiency also cuts down on emissions of other harmful pollutants that threaten Americans' health.
"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," Jackson said. "The EPA and Chrysler are working together to explore the possibilities for making this technology affordable and accessible to drivers everywhere."
"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.
Hybrid vehicles use two sources of power to drive the wheels. In a hydraulic hybrid vehicle (HHV) a regular internal combustion engine and a hydraulic motor are used to power the wheels.
EPA's hydraulic hybrid technology, developed in the agency's lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is coming into use in large delivery and refuse trucks across the country. The hydraulic hybrid system captures and reuses the energy lost in braking through a hydraulic pressure vessel. This process captures and reuses over 70% of the energy normally wasted during braking. This also reduces wear on the friction brakes. The system can also turn off the engine when it is not needed and only fully use the engine when it can operate at peak efficiently.
Series HHV technology significantly increases fuel economy and reduces emissions at very low additional cost. Hydraulic technology is also incredibly powerful and efficient for operations that require huge amounts of power. That means that HHVs can not only perform as well as conventional vehicles, but can also be designed to provide superior performance acceleration and quiet engine off operations.
Hydraulic hybrid technology is also notable for its versatility. It can be applied to military vehicles, buses, urban delivery trucks, refuse haulers, as well as sports utility vehicles and family sedans. Without the weight of a conventional transmission coupled with more efficient performance in stop-and-go traffic, HHVs make ideal urban vehicles.
The technology can also be used in smaller vehicles and has even been demonstrated in a bicycle.
The new partnership seeks to bring this same cost-effective technology to passenger vehicles. A minivan can be adapted cost effectively to the technology because the hydraulic components are widely available in other industries. A joint engineering team will design and integrate the hydraulic hybrid system into a minivan, and test the demonstration vehicle in 2012. The minivan will feature a unique powertrain that replaces the automatic transmission.
EPA's work for this project will take place at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory.
Reference: EPA
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