Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hydraulic Hybrid Prototyping

After testing our first hydraulic hybrid prototype on the LH4 last summer we moved on to creating a prototype on a 2004 Chevy 2500HD in the fall.
We had a truck on loan from the Denver International Airport fleet for the pilot project. It was complete in November and we tested it for a few weeks and that process spurred the major modifications to our Power Transfer Module (see the last post). Unfortunately the transmission on the 2004 truck was not a good candidate for the prototype so we returned the truck to DIA without the hydraulic hybrid system on it with the understanding that we will retrofit a newer truck for them after our next prototype is complete.

Currently we are applying the new tank system and updated PTM to a Chevy Silverado 2500HD. (Detail on right.) The system was applied and has since been removed for modifications and in order to get some baseline performance numbers on the truck. The truck will be complete in mid-February and will debut at the State of Colorado’s Governor’s Energy Office Environmental and Transportation Fair on February 24th. From there we will take it to the international Work Truck Show and Green Truck Summit in St. Louis in early March. We are excited to show it off and will keep you posted regarding these opportunities.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lightning Hybrids and HHS to Apply for Patents

During the prototype process with the 2002 Chevy truck from Denver International Airport, our engineering team made some major modifications to our hydraulic hybrid system design. These revisions are significant and we are working to patent the following innovations:

1. Power Transfer Module. Our PTM replaces the vehicle’s torque converter. Since it replaces an existing part, no modifications are required for the drivetrain (such as driveshaft changes, transmission change-outs, etc.) which significantly reduces the cost and increases vehicle efficiency since the torque converter is a major source of inefficiency in stop-and-go driving.

2. Dual Tank System. HHS has designed a two-in-one system with proprietary valves that reduces connections and hoses by surrounding a carbon fiber high pressure accumulator with an aluminum low pressure reservoir. The design reduces connections and hoses, a significant benefit when dealing with 5,000 PSI. Standard steel accumulators weigh over 500 pounds, the carbon fiber tank weighs in under 150 pounds, another way to increase system efficiency. No one else has a certified carbon fiber accumulator and Eaton has signed an NDA to explore using ours in their system.

3. Controls System. The HHS controls system is proprietary and is unique because we are tying into the On-Board Diagnostics of the vehicle to which the system is applied which allows us to achieve ten percent better fuel mileage improvements when used in conjunction with our PTM.

4. Hydraulic System. The hydraulic system is uniquely configured to utilize a standard and proven variable displacement pump in conjunction with a specially-designed valve manifold and uniquely configured high and low pressure tank system.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

We've Moved!

Work has started on the renovation of the Mercury Plaza building in downtown Loveland that will be the future headquarters of Lightning Hybrids and Hydraulic Hybrid Systems. Structural designs are being completed and a new floor is going into the old print shop building.

While we await our new home, we have moved from the east side of Railroad Avenue to the west side. The new space has great office space for our design and administrative team and a nice garage for our vehicle team. We aren't able to accomodate tours at this time, but hope to host an open house in the springtime.