Blog: Dave LeggettHydraulic Hybrids

Dave Leggett | 1 July 2008

Someone has just posed a question. What happened to Ford's plans for a 'hydraulic hybrid' F-150? The basic idea of this technology is that electrical energy is stored in hydraulic cylinders to assist powertrain performance. A few years ago this technology was said to offer the possibility of better performance than even lithium-ion batteries can muster. Ford was said to be taking it seriously and working on a military application, but there was plenty of development work to be done. It's gone very quiet though. Anyone know what's happened, if this tech is really coming, when we might see something or where the technical problems may be?

In a nutshell: "A hybrid hydraulic example is the Permo-Drive Hydraulic Regenerative Drive System (RDS) from Australia. The RDS recoups energy normally wasted during deceleration by pressurizing hydraulic fluid stored in accumulators. This energy is released back into the driveshaft as required such as when accelerating, climbing grades, or shifting gears. Besides gaining up to 30 percent better fuel economy with associated reductions in emissions, RDS can decrease wear on brake and driveline parts."

Some 60-mpg was being talked about for an F-150 equipped with this sort of technology. It might go down well in the marketplace...


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