U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Chrysler Group Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne recently announced a cooperative agreement to develop a light-duty hydraulic hybrid vehicle. This partnership project will focus on adapting the hydraulic hybrid system to the Chrysler Town & Country minivan and strives to bring this same cost-effective technology to a variety of passenger vehicles in the near future.

“These are the types of innovations and partnerships we want to encourage,” said Jackson during the press conference at the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich

“Hydraulic hybrid vehicles represent the cutting edge of fuel-efficiency technology and are one of many approaches we’re taking to save money for drivers, clean up the air we breathe and cut the greenhouse gases that jeopardize our health and prosperity,” Jackson said. “The EPA and Chrysler are working together to explore the possibilities for making this technology affordable and accessible to drivers everywhere.”

Experts anticipate that hydraulic hybrid technology will increase overall fuel efficiency 30-35 percent – 60 percent city driving—and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent

The new hydraulic hybrid system in the Chrysler Town & Country minivan will be equipped with a 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder gasoline engine. Engineers at the EPA’s Ann Arbor lab said the hydraulic hybrid system captures and reuses the energy lost in braking through a hydraulic pressure vessel. This system can also turn off the engine when it is not needed and only fully use the engine when it can operate at peak efficiently. Another large difference from conventional minivans, this model will also feature a unique power train that replaces the automatic transmission.

The Chrysler Town & Country minivan

The Chrysler Town & Country minivan will be adapted to include a hydraulic hybrid system thanks to a cooperative agreement between the EPA and Chrysler. Credit: Chrysler

“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 noted.

Engineering teams from the EPA and Chrysler aim to test the demonstration vehicle in 2012.

For more information on the hydraulic hybrid system, visit the EPA’s Clean Automotive Technology page to find up to date information on engines, hydraulic hybrid vehicles and alternative fuels.

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