Chrysler Joins With EPA to Develop a Different Kind of Hybrid Vehicle Chrysler Group has finally decided to jump on the hybrid-vehicle bandwagon, announcing Wednesday that it is working alongside the federal government to develop a hydraulic hybrid powertrain for its vehicles.

The last of the nation's domestic automakers to offer a hybrid variant, Chrysler said it will begin investigating the feasibility of a hydraulic hybrid system with the help of the help of the Environmental Protection Agency. The automaker made the announcement at EPA's laboratories in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"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 Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne (pictured) in a statement. "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."

Marchionne, who is also CEO of Italian automaker Fiat, said Chrysler is looking at the feasibility of using such a system on large passenger cars and light-duty vehicles. The company expects to roll out a demonstration vehicle by next year, adapting the hydraulic system to a Chrysler Town & Country minivan equipped with a 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder gasoline engine.

The system has the potential to improve vehicle fuel economy by 30% to 35%, said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Power Stored as Pressure

Vehicles powered by hydraulic hybrid systems aren't new. The technology is used in industrial applications, including powering large delivery and trash trucks across the country. It works by recovering energy from the vehicle's brakes, converting it to stored hydraulic pressure that can later be used to power the motor.

The system differs from most current hybrid systems, which use engines powered by gasoline and electricity to boost fuel economy and reduce emissions.

Chrysler and the EPA will evaluate and perhaps validate fuel-efficiency gains and reductions in greenhouse gases, Marchionne said, adding that the company hopes to complete testing and evaluation by July 2012.

Chrysler said the hydraulic system is one example of the company's efforts to improve fuel economy and produce greener cars and trucks. The automaker's current technological offerings include cylinder deactivation systems on its V8 engines, which reduce the number of cylinders that fire during engine operation if less power is needed, and an 8-speed transmission that will make its debut in Chrysler's 300 full-size sedan later this year.

The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company said it also plans to introduce 150 Ram 1500 trucks with a plug-in hybrid system in the coming months as part of a project with the Department of Transportation.

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Daimlier is also involved with short haul vehicles and this wiil be the wave of the future! The future will see short haul delivery vehicles with little emmissions and low,if any gas! Check out the web site of Enova and the goals of both companies!
Someday we will need less oil and we can breathe again!

January 19 2011 at 10:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Chrysler came out with a Hybrid back in 2009. The Chrysler Aspen was available with the Hybrid option. Also Chrysler has been working with GM and BMW on Hybrid power trains for a while.

January 19 2011 at 4:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jason's comment

What happen to the Turbine Car Chrysler had back in 1963 era ? I saw them at the NY World's Fair, and you had the opportunity to drive one if your lottery number was selected. Chyrsler had them across the country, driving the highways in a test mode, then all of a sudden they disappeared and you heard nothing more from them. Was it because other automakers paid to have it put in moth balls, or the oil companies do it and killed the project because it would hurt the oil industry? So many questions !

January 19 2011 at 11:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Good question organplyr, as I recall braking was a problem as well as the exhaust was very hot. What the emmissions were I have no idea. Though they could burn anything. I wonder?

January 20 2011 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply