21 January 2011

Chrysler Group and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a partnership to determine the possibility of adapting a hydraulic hybrid system for large passenger cars and light-duty vehicles. The announcement was made at the EPA laboratories in Ann Arbor, MI, following a meeting with Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group CEO, and Lisa P. Jackson, EPA Administrator. Engineering services in this project will be provided by FEV, who was involved in EPA hydraulic hybrid projects in the past.

The hydraulic hybrid system, developed by the EPA’s lab in Ann Arbor, is currently used in industrial applications, including large delivery trucks and refuse trucks. The technology has shown substantial increases in fuel economy when compared with traditional powertrains. 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 research project will focus on adapting the hydraulic hybrid system to a Chrysler Town & Country minivan equipped with a 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder gasoline engine. Components of the hydraulic hybrid system include a 117 cc engine pump, a 45 cc drive electric motor and a two-speed automatic transmission. Fluid for the system 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 psi (34 MPa). 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.

Other fuel saving technologies adopted by Chrysler include cylinder deactivation on V8 engines, a new MultiAir system on the Fiat 500 and an eight-speed transmission in the 2011 Chrysler 300 that will be introduced later this year. Chrysler also will introduce 150 Ram 1500 trucks with a plug-in hybrid system in the coming months as part of a project with the US Department of Transportation.

Source: Chrysler | FEV