LeftLaneNews

Ford developing 40MPG gas-hydraulic hybrid F-150?

Having been rumored off and on to exist for years, it appears as if new we may finally have more details on a gas-hydraulic hybrid F-150 that is capable of impressive MPG.

Five years and one week ago to the day, Leftlane reported on a supposedly secret testing mule F-150 that utilized a hydraulic system to enable up to 60 miles per gallon. The project vehicle was also rumored to supposedly be on the way for production in 2008, but obviously that date came and went and no further information ever surfaced about said truck - until now.

Now, a new report says that a gas-hydraulic hybrid F-150 does in fact exist, and is the result of a partnership between Ford, the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power and Folsom Technologies, according to PickupTrucks. This latest version of the hydraulic-hybrid is reportedly going to be capable of 40 miles per gallon in city driving, with verifiable EPA figures expected by next year.

Let's talk details
The testing truck in question uses the combined output of Ford's 4.6-liter V8 (unclear if it is 2- or 3-valve), paired in a parallel hybrid system with a reservoir and accumulator, which stored fluid that is pressurized in the accumulator. The power from the combined system is sent to the rear-wheels for propulsion.

Also unique about the system is the use of a continuously variable transmission, or CVT, which was provided by Folsom Technologies. The CVT helps by adding two hydraulic pump motors which connect through planetary gears. Just adding the CVT system alone reportedly raises the fuel economy from a mixed rating of 16 to 18, to potentially above 20 MPG.

Once the full hydraulic system is entered into the equation, the research team says there is "potential to reach 40 mpg or higher in urban driving." The system reportedly fares much better in city driving than highway driving, much like a traditional gas-electric hybrid would. The braking of urban driving allows for the re-pressurization of the tanks, which can also be accomplished from engine power as well.

What really makes the system appealing is the fact that the towing rating is expected to stay the same, or potentially even increase with hydraulic hybridization, meaning there is virtually no compromise to adding the system aside from cost.

Who's involved
The project itself is the culmination of efforts by many parties, ranging from Ford Motor Company, to Folsom, to the CCEFP which consists of 55 industrial partners in pneumatic technology development and seven universities nationwide.

The funding for the CCEFP comes from the National Science Foundation, while Ford donated a truck and time from its engineers.

At this time there isn't a specific timeline in place for the potential implementation of the technology into production vehicles, but anywhere in the four to five-year range would be possible under ideal conditions.

References
1.'Ford F-150 used...' view