New hybrid hydraulic drive system cuts fuel bill

A hybrid hydraulic drive system developed by Australian company Permo-Drive Technologies could reduce fuel consumption for trucks and buses by up to 40%.

Paul Chandler, Permo-Drive’s vice president for North America, boldly claims that the Regenerative Drive System (RDS), which can be applied to new or existing trucks, will have a significant impact on the US economy.

Trucks account for nearly 81% of North America’s freight business and last year alone consumed more than 42 billion gallons of fuel.

The RDS captures energy generated by a vehicle’s braking process, then releases the energy back into the driveline as power is needed. Key design features include an innovative inline driveshaft, energy storage devices that utilise special composite materials, ultra-light- weight metals, and advanced hydraulic and electronic engineering.

Chandler says that the system, which integrates vehicle dynamics, hydraulics, mechanical engineering, accumulator technology, material science, computer telemetry, and electronics, will save fleet owners billions of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs.

The system has also shown an ability to significantly increase brake life and reduce hydrocarbon-and-particulate emissions for all classes of commercial vehicles.

Permo-Drive will begin testing the system in major North American vehicle fleets in 2003 and plans to make the technology available commercially by 2005.

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