Hybrid hydraulic technology can reduce fuel consumption by up to 40%, firm says

Permo-Drive Technologies Ltd has developed a hybrid hydraulic drive system that can reduce fuel consumption for trucks and buses by up to 40%, the company reports.

The Regenerative Drive System (RDS) can be applied to new or existing trucks. The RDS captures energy generated by a vehicle's braking process, then releases the energy back into the driveline as power is needed. Design features include an inline driveshaft, energy storage devices that use special composite materials, ultra-lightweight metals, and advanced hydraulic and electronic engineering.

RDS technology integrates vehicle dynamics, hydraulics, mechanical engineering, accumulator technology, material science, computer telemetry, and electronics.

Permo-Drive will begin testing the system in major North American vehicle fleets in 2003 and plans to make the technology available commercially by 2005.

In October 2002, Permo-Drive signed a cooperative research and development agreement with the United States Army's National Automotive Center to evaluate hybrid hydraulic driveline systems for both military and commercial applications.

A medium tactical military vehicle equipped with the new hybrid hydraulic system was shown for the first time by Permo-Drive and the Army at the Association of the US Army annual meeting in Washington DC in October.

Besides improved fuel economy, Permo-Drive's regenerative braking and propulsion system has shown an ability to significantly increase brake life and reduce hydrocarbon-and-particulate emissions for all classes of commercial vehicles.

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