Hydraulic Hybrids ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Hydraulic Hybrids

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hydraulic Hybrids

Hydraulic Hybrid engines get their power from two sources (thus the hybrid). One is a conventional gas engine (or diesel) and the second is a hydraulic system capable of storing and releasing a great amount of energy due to a higher power density.

The hydraulic system is made up of three components, a high pressure accumulator capable of storing hydraulic fluid and compressing nitrogen gas, a low pressure accumulator, and one (or more) hydraulic pump/motor units.

Since most of the energy comes from braking, hydraulic engines are best suited for urban situations where stop-and-go driving is the norm (think delivery trucks or buses). Since the hydraulic system helps with braking, an added benefit is the lower cost due to break wear.

Gas engines are typically least efficient in braking and accelerating. Since the hydraulic system assists in braking and allows for faster acceleration for less fuel cost, hydraulic hybrids get the best of both worlds. Basically, hydraulic hybrids allows the engine torque to be independent of vehicle speed, resulting in cleaner and more efficient engine operation.

Ford has been working together with the EPA to develop hydraulic technology and it is rumoured their 2008 Ford F-150 could be a hydraulic hybrid. UPS has also been working with the EPA on hydraulic technology, but has also gone ahead with developing gas-electric hybrid delivery trucks, as well.

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