19 August 2007

100 MPG X Prize Contest--Valentin Technologies 130 MPG Hydraulics Hybrid Entry

The Automotive X Prize for the first car-to-market with 100+ mpg fuel efficiency was announced Aug 1, 2007. Over 30 teams from 6 countries of North America and Europe are already entered, and inquiries from 300 other teams have been made.

The Valentin Technologies entry uses hydraulic transmission technology to achieve what it claims is 130 mpg!
The piston of the free-piston internal combustion engine pumps hydraulic fluid into the accumulator. It stores the energy by compressing the gas bladder inside. The engine will be turned off automatically when the accumulator is filled – and turned on again shortly before it becomes empty.

The pressurized fluid drives the wheelmotors, one in each wheel. Their driving power is continuously variable from zero to maximum speed.

The wheelmotors are reversed during braking and become pumps. They are powerful enough to stop the car like disk brakes, while recuperating the entire braking energy. The energy is stored in the accumulator and used again for driving. The ‘round-trip-efficiency’ during braking is 70% to 85%. The energy is stored in the accumulator and will be used again to drive the car.

This type of individual wheel motor with regenerative braking can be done with electricity as well as hydraulics. Other teams will be using that approach to conserve energy. Currently hydraulic energy storage is more scalable than electric energy storage--but that will not last indefinitely.

So for now, Valentin may have an edge. It will be fascinating to watch the Automotive X Prize as it develops.

Hat tip Peswiki.

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Blogger IConrad said...

Sounds incredibly like Heinlein's "shipstones". The unique element to the hydraulic element appears (to me) to be the use of power conversion as apparently the full source of braking -- which to my knowledge is less feasible under electromechanical systems. Given the energy costs for overcoming the rest-state inertia, that's a powerful source for energy efficiency already; the Toyota Prius uses a similar braking electromechanical conversion.

Of course, I'd be very interested to discover what this 130 mpg vehicle's horsepower is.

Monday, 20 August, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

Hydraulic regenerative breaking is supposedly more efficient than electric storage battery based systems.

Saturday, 13 October, 2007  

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