Ask the Best and Brightest: WTH is a HHV?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

You gotta sit up and take notice when a new technology claims a 40 to 50 percent increase in fuel economy. Either that or hide your checkbook. Personally, professionally, I’ve never heard of a hydraulic hybrid vehicle (HHV), never mind a diesel hydraulic hybrid vehicle (DHHV?). But IndustryWeek has, as well as the United Parcel Service, which plans to deploy a fleet of two (count ’em two) HHVs in Minneapolis early next year. The only explanation for the taxpayer-funded technology involved is, to say the least, literally, marginal. “The technology, originally developed in a federal laboratory of the Environmental Protection Agency, stores energy by compressing hydraulic fluid under pressure in a large chamber.” Does one of our Best and Brightest care to elaborate? Meanwhile, it’s kinda weird to hear our government officials talk about the hybrid premium: “The EPA estimates that when manufactured in high volume, the added costs of the hybrid components can be recouped in less than three years through lower fuel and brake maintenance costs.” [thanks to nutbags for the link]

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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4 of 18 comments
  • Netrun Netrun on Oct 30, 2008

    There's already a fleet of dump trucks testing this technology. Huge fuel and maintenance savings. Also a big plus for those of us with houses nearer to the street. Those squeeling brakes are really annoying!

  • Cavendel Cavendel on Oct 30, 2008

    What a mess if a fully compressed tank got ruptured in an accident. On the plus side, if the fluid could double as a fire retardant...

  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Oct 30, 2008

    I'm interested in seeing if this idea goes anywhere. It would actually be the air (or whatever gas they're using) in the accumulator that would be compressed. Technically, the hydraulic fluid would be compressed too, but by an extremely insignificant amount.

  • Shaker Shaker on Oct 30, 2008

    There's a lot of potential (ahem) for this tech, though repairs would have to be handled by the local Caterpillar dealer.