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Old 05-26-2021, 08:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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What ever happened to HHV technology?

Back in 2008, the United Parcel Service (UPS) decided to deploy a few hydraulic hybrids for their delivery fleet.



A few cities also bought several HHV garbage trucks. Then there started to be a small trickle of news claiming that hydraulic hybrids could have a future in everything from very large commercial vehicles to passenger vehicles to bicycles.



A few companies even started offering HHV conversions for existing vehicles. But a quick search on google seems to indicate that they've all stopped offering such services. The idea seems to have fizzled with no new news on further developments.

But what happened to HHV technology?

The technology looked very promising, and still does to an extent.
With regenerative braking efficiencies claims of up to 80% and potentially double the fuel savings, hydraulic hybrid technology had been lauded as being even more efficient than electric hybrid technology and potentially cheaper. The concept was proven to work even in very large commercial vehicles.



But none of that has seemed to help HHV news from disappearing. What happened to the HHV?

Was it that it was too expensive to make? I noticed that Orlando's HHV garbage trucks cost them over $150,000 more a piece, or about 165% what a non-hybrid truck would have cost.

Was it that other technologies eclipsed the interest in them? If you look at Orlando's latest purchases in trash trucks they've now switched to apparently non-hybrid CNG trucks.

EV's also may have caused a loss of interest in HHV's kind of the same way EV's have caused some to lose interest in plug-in hybrids.

Is there some other reason? Did they not get the efficiency that they were expected to get? Did they have reliability problems? Or is this a highly efficient fuel saving technology with untapped potential that everyone has aparently forgotten about?


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Old 05-26-2021, 08:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I guess I may have at least partially answered my own question. Lightning hybrids was one of the companies that was developing and selling hydraulic hybrid conversions. They are now focused on EV's.

https://companyweek.com/article/lightning-systems

Quote:
The company pivoted with "the writing on the wall" for the gas-electric hybrid vehicle market, says Reeser, and began focusing exclusively on all-electric drivetrains in late 2017. In the process, it rebranded from Lightning Hybrids to Lightning Systems.

"Batteries got better," notes Reeser. "A lot of that was driven by the automotive space. . . . moving batteries into higher production, so the price was coming down, the power and energy was going up. Broadly, cities were saying, 'We don't want hybrids. We really want zero emissions for noise reductions and improvements in air quality.'"
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Old 05-26-2021, 09:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would venture to guess the development/production/manufacturing costs simply don't provide enough of a benefit over electric hybrid or EV.
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Old 05-26-2021, 10:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It's always been about the best way to store energy. They are all fighting a tough fight as gasoline stores so much energy per kilogram and "recharges" in seconds.

When these were being developed did they have Li-ion batteries yet? There were also flywheel busses in development as well. They would respin the flywheel every so many stops.
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Old 05-26-2021, 10:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Batteries became cheap.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksa8907 View Post
I would venture to guess the development/production/manufacturing costs simply don't provide enough of a benefit over electric hybrid or EV.
Very probable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hersbird View Post
It's always been about the best way to store energy. They are all fighting a tough fight as gasoline stores so much energy per kilogram and "recharges" in seconds.

When these were being developed did they have Li-ion batteries yet? There were also flywheel busses in development as well. They would respin the flywheel every so many stops.
The hydraulic hybrid was never intended to be a means to store massive amounts of energy but to work exclusively as a traditional hybrid that helps save fuel through regenerative braking. It only makes (made) sense on stop and go vehicles. Vehicles that cruise down a highway wouldn't benefit much from the regenerative braking.

At the time there weren't any Li-ion hybrids or EV's. The only thing that came close were the NiMH hybrids, namely the 1st Gen Honda Insight and the 1st and 2nd gen Toyota Prius. The NiMH hybrids were said to get up to 20% or 25% regen efficiency and weighed more per unit of power.

By comparison, the hydraulic hybrid systems that had been developed and tested at that time were 70% to 80% efficient at regenerative braking and were light enough to be easily adapted to commercial vehicles that normally need all the weight savings they can get in order to haul their cargo. For an example, on a full sized bus the hydraulic hybrid system might mean you would lose one passenger in capacity. (This is why many have serious doubts about a Tesla or other company produced battery electric semi truck. The added weight of the batteries displaces the weight of the cargo that can be carried.)

Anywho, for hybrids at least maybe the lithium ion battery caught up to and surpassed the hydraulic accumulator in power to weight ratio or effiency (I've seen claims of Tesla regen being 85% or even 95% efficent although I have serioius doubts.) Even if li-ion batteries don't surpass it in those aspects, they definitely do in terms of energy density, making li-ion batteries better for certain applications.

For an example, anything plug-in (hybrid or pure EV) would benefit from a li-ion battery. Also when traveling over mountains a lithium EV or hybrid system would help soak up energy while regening down the pass. These are things that cannot be done in a hydraulic hybrid.

I think what attracts me to the hydraulic hybrid idea is that it isn't affected as much by cold weather. My NiMH hybrids suffer quite a bit during the winter, and I'm sure a lot has to do with battery temperature since I can warm up the engine and catalytic converter, keeping the heater off, and still drive around without the engine ever wanting to shut off. And in our Nissan Leaf the cold still took a huge toll on range even when trying to hypermile without turning on the heater.
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Old 05-26-2021, 06:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hydraulic hybrid setups are quite mechanically complex compared to Toyota's HSD and other similar hybrid electrics, or even some serial hybrid electrics such as the Wrightspeed Route system.
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Old 05-26-2021, 07:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What happened?
Batteries.
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
What happened?
Batteries.
Does that mean there are a lot of electric hybrid or full BEV delivery trucks, trash trucks, metro buses and school buses now?

Or why did places like Orlando change their hybrid trash trucks in for CNG non-hybrid trucks?
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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It appears to be the solution no one wanted.
It hydraulic hybrids seem to work great and nothing is wrong with the technology.
But the prices of hydraulic gear appears to be increasing while batteries and inverter tech keeps getting cheaper.

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