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Lightning Hybrids' Hydraulic-Hybrid System Patented


kscarbel2
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Heavy Duty Trucking / February 4, 2015

Lightning Hybrids, designer and manufacturer of hydraulic brake regeneration systems for medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles, has been awarded a full U.S. utility patent for the 4th generation of its parallel hydraulic hybrid system.

The patent is specifically for a "hydraulic regeneration apparatus," which uses hydraulic pumps and accumulators to capture braking energy and regenerate it for accelerating a vehicle, according to Lightning Hybrids.

Dan Johnson, Lightning Hybrids co-founder and CTO, who co-invented the new patented system with senior controls engineer, Jonathan Reynolds, said the new patent built on previous generations on the system, with a focus on making the system more efficient.

"Eliminating a lot of the parts in the system was a big goal. By doing that, we were able to dramatically increase the efficiencies of the system. The higher the efficiency, the more we can decrease emissions and increase fuel savings," Johnson said.

A primary goal for the new patent was making the system lighter by using more aluminum in its construction and by having fewer parts, according to Johnson.

"Fewer parts means a significant cost savings, and a lighter system means higher efficiency overall. It means fleets are able to have a higher payload, allowing them to effectually do the work they’re on the road to do in a cleaner, more efficient way," Johnson said.

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Despite being a small player, Lightning Hybrids has been moving ahead with its hydraulic launch assist technology in the face of much better financed competition. That being Parker Hannifin with its “RunWise” system and Bosch Rexroth’s parallel Hydrostatic Regenerative Braking (HRB) system. Eaton discontinued its Hydraulic Launch Assist (HLA) hybrid power system in September 2014.

It appears Lightning Hybrids is making some degree of headway with the size, weight and complexity issues of the technology.

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