News of October 17, 2001
Ford, EPA To Develop Promising High-Efficiency Automotive Powertrain
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ford Motor Company and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today a cooperative effort to develop a unique high-efficiency “hydraulic hybrid” automotive powertrain. The technology to be developed and tested under this agreement has the potential to significantly improve the fuel economy of light-duty trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), which could reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save consumers money at the pump. The agreement is the first of its kind between an automaker and EPA.
In this agreement, Ford has committed to invest to further develop this proprietary technology, with an aim toward putting a pilot fleet of vehicles on the road by the end of the decade.
The basic technology was originally developed and patented by EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and refined under a previous cooperative agreement with Ford. The advanced powertrain features a high-efficiency engine and a unique hydraulic hybrid propulsion system. The hydraulic hybrid system uses hydraulic motor/pumps and hydraulic accumulators to store energy, in the place of electric motor/generators and batteries used in electrical hybrid drive trains. Like other hybrid systems, energy saved via regenerative braking is used to help power the vehicle. This hydraulic power system could have cost and power advantages over electric hybrid systems.
The hydraulic hybrid research project complements Ford Motor Company’s commitment to develop and implement technologies providing high-volume solutions to address societal concerns, said William Clay Ford Jr., Ford Motor Company chairman. “While we are working hard to implement proven technologies on our vehicles today, we must at the same time push forward with advanced research that holds a bright promise for tomorrow,” he said.
Ford and EPA will be working with FEV, one of the world’s leading advanced automotive engine and powertrain research and development firms, and Eaton, a major Tier 1 supplier to the worldwide auto industry, to build and test the new technology with the goal of integrating it into future products.
(October 12, 2001)