Auburn Hills, Michigan – Chrysler will determine the possibility of adapting a hydraulic hybrid system for large passenger cars and light-duty vehicles. The research is part of a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Hydraulic hybrid systems are already in use in some commercial vehicles, most notably refuse trucks.

“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,” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler Group. “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.”

Hydraulic hybrid technology has shown substantial increases in fuel economy when compared with traditional powertrains in the same types of vehicles. 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 focusing on adapting a Chrysler Town & Country minivan with 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine. The hybrid system includes an engine pump, electric motor and two-speed automatic transmission, with a high-pressure accumulator for fluid storage. Engine torque drives a hydraulic pump that charges the accumulator up to 5,000 psi. The accumulator delivers the pressure energy to the axle hydraulic motor, giving the vehicle power to drive the wheels. If the accumulator charge is sufficient to drive the motor, the gasoline engine remains off.

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