In continuation of yesterdays post about research being supported by the EPA at Univ. of Toledo, I just wanted to make it clear as to why the work these people are doing is extremely important, we all have a basic sense about how hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius and its relatives use the power generated from braking and store it in the battery. Now there are some inherent problems when it comes to storing energy in an hybrid, you see the battery can only store so much power and hybrid car batteries cannot charge or be discharged fast enough to be able to take advantage of all the excess power, which is being wasted when it is transferred in the form of heat.
So the researchers at the University of Toledo plan on harnessing maximum energy generated by the hybrid’s hydraulic propulsion system in the same fashion (i.e. braking) but they plan to store the engergy generated as compressed gas in a reservoir instead of releasing it as heat. Now it is stated that fuel economy for an SUV will go from 17.5 MPG to 36 MPG, I wonder what it will do for the existing hybrid car. Downside, increase in price, for such a vehicle with this new technology would go up from $500 to $3500 (just x7). Now this research is being carried out so that the hybrid hydraulic technology can be applied in the mass transport and goods carrier arena (i.e. school buses, dumpster trucks) which entails a lot of stopping. So technology and research associated with it is expensive, but would you rather shell out a couple of thousand dollars and drive a PZEV or ZEV and reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases which severely effects on our planet or would you rather pay $2.50 a gallon or more and drive a tank which pollutes the environment to a point that we all have to wear a gas mask.
Source: Researchers working on Hybrid Buses and Trucks