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Chrysler: hydraulic hybrids

by David Zatz on

Chrysler and the US EPA announced a joint research project to create a hydraulic hybrid powertrain; Chrysler is to work on controls and packaging the system for the current minivans, explaining Sergio Marchionne’s recent remarks at Windsor.

The hydraulic hybrid system, developed by the EPA’s lab in Ann Arbor, is currently used in industrial applications, including large trucks. The technology has shown substantial increases in fuel economy. 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 project will focus on adapting the hydraulic hybrid system to a Chrysler Town & Country minivan equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. Components include a 117 cc engine pump, a 45 cc drive electric motor, and a two-speed automatic transmission. Fluid will be stored in a 14.4-gallon high pressure accumulator.

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.


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