Everybody knows about hybrids. Here’s a hybrid you probably don’t know about. A hydraulic hybrid. Today. On Engineering Works!
Hybrid cars are no big deal these days. You see them just about everywhere. Even the technology is getting familiar. A gasoline engine paired with an electric motor and a big battery. The important point is that they give you great gas mileage.
There’s another hybrid out there, and it gets better gas mileage than the gasoline-electric hybrids we see every day. A lot better. It’s a diesel–hydraulic hybrid. And diesel-hydraulic hybrids can cut the amount of fuel you use – in half.
In case you’re as technologically challenged as we are, hydraulic devices use fluids under pressure to multiply force. The hydraulic master cylinder in your car’s brake system multiplies the force of your foot on the brake pedal. In hydraulic hybrids, a small pump compresses hydraulic fluid in what’s called an accumulator to a pressure of 5,000 pounds per square inch. When you step on the accelerator, the pressurized fluid is released and turns a hydraulic motor. The closest thing to a gasoline-electric hybrid’s battery is one that stores electricity for things like the lights and radio.
So far, most of the research on hydraulic hybrids uses the system to drive big vehicles. Garbage trucks and UPS trucks and such. But it should work at least as well in passenger cars.
Our garbage truck is at the door and we’re going home. See you next time.
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Start the discussion: Hydraulic hybrids sound like a great idea and an intriguing alternative to gasoline-electric hybrids. But there must be some downside to it. What am I not seeing?