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Chrysler and the EPA Partner on Hydraulic Hybrid Powertrain

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In brief: Chrysler Group and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working together to determine whether a hydraulic series hybrid system in light-duty vehicles is viable.

Vehicle in the news

Chrysler CEO Marchionne at joint EPA press event.

Chrysler, which has foregone most electric vehicle hype and has few plans for introducing them in the future, came together with the EPA in Ann Arbor, Michigan to announce plans to look into hydraulic hybrid system as an option for light-duty vehicles (cars, pickup trucks, etc).

The idea is not new and FutureCars has covered one such idea already. Currently, hydraulic-hybrid systems are being used in several heavy vehicles such as garbage trucks.

What the EPA and Chrysler want to study is whether the technology is economically and market viable for smaller vehicles such as passenger cars and pickup trucks. This will be done through a prototype Town & Country minivan from Chrysler.

The van will be powered by a 4-cylinder, 2.4L gasoline engine and utilize a 117cc engine pump and 45cc drive electric motor using fluid stored in a 14.4 gallon high pressure accumulator (5,000 psi).

This same technology has been tried by the EPA in a Ford Expedition SUV in 2004 using a diesel engine.

And so ...

The technology is most likely market viable, but will require a fair amount of research on the part of the company who wishes to bring it to market. Fuel savings could be significant in a right-sized vehicle.

Photo credits: Chrysler

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