Chrysler and EPA Working on Hydraulic Hybrid System for Passenger Cars [with Video]

Chrysler and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a new partnership to explore the possibility of adapting the EPA's hydraulic hybrid system for passenger cars and light-duty vehicles. Developed by the EPA, the hydraulic hybrid system is currently used in industrial applications, including large delivery trucks and refuse trucks, but Chrysler, keen on developing a new portfolio of hybrid vehicles, wants to adopt it for use on passenger vehicles.

The EPA and Chrysler are working together to explore the possibilities for making this technology affordable and accessible to drivers everywhere," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "This partnership is further proof that we can preserve our climate, protect our health and strengthen our economy all at the same time”.

The focus will be on adapting the technology to a Chrysler Town & Country minivan powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. The hydraulic system includes a 117 cc engine pump, a 45 cc drive electric motor and 2-speed automatic transmission, with an additional 14.4-gallon high-pressure accumulator storing the fluid for the system.

Power is produced as the engine torque drives the hydraulic pump, which, in term, charges the accumulator up to 5,000 psi. The pressure energy is then directed through the axle hydraulic motor to the driven wheels. As long as there’s enough pressure, the thermal engine remains off, thus reducing fuel consumption.

“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”.

Chrysler and the EPA plan to have a running demonstration vehicle by 2012. The automaker also announced that it would introduce 150 Ram 1500 trucks with a plug-in hybrid system in the near future, as part of a project with the U. S. Department of Transportation.

The video below shows an industrial application of the hydraulic hybrid system.

By Csaba Daradics