EPA and Chrysler team up for hydraulic hybrid minivan

  • 21-Jan-2011 04:24 EST

Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announce partnership to develop an hydraulic-hybrid minivan at the EPA's Ann Arbor, MI, laboratories on Jan. 14.

The U.S. EPA and Chrysler have announced a cooperative agreement to develop and adapt hydraulic hybrid technology for the light-duty auto market. Chrysler will build a minivan demonstration vehicle using the EPA's patented propulsion technology, which is claimed to offer an average fuel efficiency improvement of 30-35% percent and up to 60% in city driving. The hybrid system also is capable of reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions by 25% per vehicle. “In addition to creating the jobs of the future, clean energy benefits the U.S. economy by ultimately making energy costs more affordable for consumers – especially if their dollars stay in America,” Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said. “Hydraulic hybrid vehicle technology is one more promising path worth pursuing in the effort to reduce our carbon footprint, and we are excited to partner with the EPA to push forward on this track.” Eaton Corp. was the first company to license the EPA’s hydraulic hybrid technology and put it into production vehicles; the Eaton system is available in Peterbilt large delivery and refuse trucks. The system captures and reuses energy lost in braking through a hydraulic pressure vessel. The system can also shut off the engine when it is not needed. While the technology thus far has been focused on large, full-frame vehicles because of the space required to package the pressure tank, Chrysler engineers believe it can be downsized to work in a minivan architecture. A joint Chrysler-EPA engineering team will develop a demonstrator vehicle; it is expected to be ready by 2012.

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