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Transportation & Fuel Source Technology

EPA and Chrysler to Take Latest Hybrid Technology from Lab to Street

US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne today traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to announce a cooperative agreement to develop and adapt hydraulic hybrid technology for the light duty auto market. The goal of this partnership is to design a Chrysler minivan as a demonstration vehicle, using EPA's own patented technology. It is anticipated that the hydraulic hybrid technology will increase overall fuel efficiency 30-35 percent 60 percent city driving -- and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. Increasing efficiency also cuts down on emissions of other harmful pollutants that threaten Americans' health.

"Hydraulic hybrid vehicles represent the cutting edge of fuel-efficiency technology and are one of many approaches we're taking to save money for drivers, clean up the air we breathe and cut the greenhouse gases that jeopardize our health and prosperity," Jackson said. "The EPA and Chrysler are working together to explore the possibilities for making this technology affordable and accessible to drivers everywhere. This partnership is further proof that we can preserve our climate, protect our health and strengthen our economy all at the same time."

"In addition to creating the jobs of the future, clean energy benefits the U.S. economy by ultimately making energy costs more affordable for consumers especially if their dollars stay in America," Marchionne said. "Hydraulic hybrid vehicle technology is one more promising path worth pursuing in the effort to reduce our carbon footprint, and we are excited to partner with the EPA to push forward on this track."

EPA's hydraulic hybrid technology, developed in the agency's lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is coming into use in large delivery and refuse trucks across the country. The hydraulic hybrid system captures and reuses the energy lost in braking through a hydraulic pressure vessel. The system can also turn off the engine when it is not needed and only fully use the engine when it can operate at peak efficiently.

The new partnership seeks to bring this same cost-effective technology to passenger vehicles. A minivan can be adapted cost effectively to the technology because the hydraulic components are widely available in other industries. A joint engineering team will design and integrate the hydraulic hybrid system into a minivan, and test the demonstration vehicle in 2012. The minivan will feature a unique powertrain that replaces the automatic transmission.

EPA's work for this project will take place at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory. The EPA lab holds more than 60 patents with 25 pending and is at the forefront of the clean energy economy. In addition to advanced technology research, the lab tests and certifies vehicles to be sold in the U.S. and develops programs that prevent thousands of deaths each year and helps to strengthen the nation's energy security. EPA's lab is near the American auto industry capital of Detroit. All major international automakers have facilities in the Ann Arbor area to work closely with the lab.

Other key engineering partners working on this project include FEV, Inc. of Auburn Hills, Michigan and Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio, Texas and Ann Arbor.

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