Hydraulic Hybrids

In listening to NPR this morning (the article’s not up yet or I’d link to it), it seems that the EPA and UPS are going to be testing in Detroit a hydraulic hybrid delivery truck. In googling around, this is the only article I can find which mentions the UPS test.

In reading the description of the drive, it sounds similar to Preston Tucker’s idea.

According to this site the added cost of this system is cheap, especially when compared to the cost of conventional gas/electric hybrids.

Sounds interesting. I wonder if a gasoline-powered version could be used for ordinary cars and SUVs? After all, the big problem with conventional hybrids is the cost. The savings in gasoline isn’t enough to offset the large increase in price. Also, there’s going to be hell to pay if those batteries don’t last as long as they’re supposed to, and it turns out that hybrids need a new $2000 battery every five to ten years.

Vespa Unveils Two Hybrid Scooters.

So what’s a “hydraulic storage tank” and how does it store energy?

It’s a tank with a nitrogen filled bladder, as the hydraulic fluid is pumped into the tank, it compresses the bladder, thus storing energy. You can see pics and find out more info here.

Thanks. Those tanks look scary though, I wonder what kind of damage it can do if it’s ruptured in an accident…

Probably not nearly as much as if a propane tank fell off a truck. I would imagine that they’ve done some crash testing on the things to make sure they don’t blow up too easily.