Permo-Drive Technologies Ltd. has developed a hybrid hydraulic drive system that will be ready for use by commercial trucks and buses in three years, a system the Australian company said can reduce fuel consumption per vehicle by up to 40%.
Permo-Drive said it will begin testing its hybrid drive system in major North American fleets next year and plans to make the technology available commercially by 2005.
"The potential impact of hybrid hydraulic systems on the economy in general and on commercial vehicle owners in particular could be significant," said Paul Chandler, Permo-Drive's vp for North American operations. "Trucks account for nearly 81% of U.S. freight business and last year alone consumed more than 42 billion gallons of fuel."
Chandler said that Permo-Drive's Regenerative Drive System (RDS) can be installed on both new and existing trucks. The RDS captures energy generated by a vehicle's braking process, then releases the energy back into the driveline as power is needed.
In addition to improved fuel economy, Chandler said Permo-Drive's regenerative braking and propulsion system could "significantly" increase brake life, plus reduce hydrocarbon and particulate emissions for all classes of commercial vehicles.