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It's not often that a Hummer is pictured here on AutoblogGreen but this particular brute, owned by hydraulic hose and belt supplier Gates, is being converted to a hydraulic hybrid using a system developed by Hybra-Drive. We introduced them to you in '07 and now that they're making some news, we wanted to bring them back. Their set-up, you'll remember, uses a conventional engine to pressurize a hydraulic system to send power to the wheels which is said by the company to reduce fuel consumption by more than half and reduce emissions as much as 90 percent.

It seems this small Deerfield, MI business has been chosen over some of the more established firms like Eaton to "negotiate with the Parcel Delivery Working Group of the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF) in Pasadena, Calif. for validation and testing of hybrid hydraulic power on parcel delivery vehicles," according to the Great Lakes IT report on WWJ Newsradio 950. HTUF is a branch of Calstart that, through forums and working groups, works to help commercialize hybrid designs for trucks. So maybe we'll be seeing hydraulic hybrid systems used in vehicles besides the Peterbilt garbage truck at some point in the future.

[Source: WWJ Radio]


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  • 15 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Spearman, Grow up.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Regenerative braking will not work on a Hummer. I have driven one before, if you were to take your foot off the accelerator for a second the truck will suddenly slow down to an idle.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Series-Hydraulics "should" be less expensive and have greater efficiency than electric series in large vehicle applications. The real point here is don't buy a large vehicle like SUV or Pick-up truck unless you REALLY NEED it. If you buy it, you should not ask the taxpayer to help you pay for it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm making my own hydraulic drive with a ural motorcycle with sidecar. I plan to leave in my engine and relace the transmission with a pump and run it with a hydraulic motor. Hydraulics are wonderful . If it works the way I expect it would work I plan to install it in my motorhome with a v.w. aircooled engine run a pump with a hydraulic motor and make it into a 4 wheel drive rig with PTO.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great article. I think hydraulic hybrids offer significant advantages over electric hybrids, such as not have the battery disposal issue.

      I read a great article called "Hybrid Hummer Hums" at http://economicefficiency.blogspot.com/2008/07/hybrid-hummer-hums.html

      It really laid out all of the issues.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well what are the savings in fuel ??
      • 6 Years Ago
      According to the article, this is a series hybrid, just like the Ford Explorer 4WD that the EPA built in 2004 using a VW 1.9L diesel engine. That vehicle was estimated to get nearly 60MPG. Using a Hummer one could easily expect mileage in the upper 30's at least.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah baby, I can keep my full-size Hummer! Glad to hear that assaults on the mall, soccer field, and church will still remain viable. I'll go pick up one of those assault rifles the Republicans made legal, some urban camouflage from urban outfitters, and my ensemble will be complete.
      • 6 Years Ago
      spearman got tasered - and so early in the morning too
      • 6 Years Ago
      Bigger vehicles have a bigger profit margin. Those of us who need a smallish commuter car have to inform the car makers of our interest. A large volume of small cars can make enough profit to be compelling.

      The hydraulic hybrid does away with some components as it adds others. Regenerative breaking could eliminate the need for friction brakes. The series hybrid has an engine directly driving a hydraulic pump to store energy that is then used to drive hydraulic motors - the traditional transmission is gone. The engine is run at its ideal torque when it is running, so there may be a benefit even on the highway when the motor speed of a traditional design is not at the peak of the torque curve.

      If the efficiencies seen with large vehicles translate to smaller ones, a 100mpg rating may be possible using hydraulics. I'd be happier if my fill-up only required 4 gallons of gas and my range was longer between fill-ups.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So this is basically a car with a normal engine but an hydraulic drivetrain rather than a conventional transmission. And we are supposed to believe that this relatively minor modification saves 50% fuel? If that were true all cars would have it. Get real!
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a great idea for heavy stop and go vehicles. You capture braking energy much more efficiently than with an electric and re use it on acceleration. Not really useful on the highway though.
        • 6 Years Ago
        More efficient? Not always. The hydraulic accumulator has some thermodynamic losses when storing and releasing energy, and that loss increases with increased pressures. For storing lots of power, batteries are more efficient and more compact.

        On the other hand, the hydraulic motors regenerate well even at very low speeds where electric regeneration is less effective.

        End result, hydraulic hybrid would be better for low speed stop and go (like a garbage truck or mail delivery) and electric hybrid would be better for higher speed use.
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