Ford F-150 Used to Develop 40 MPG Hydraulic Hybrid Powertrain

Ford F-150 Used to Develop Hydraulic Hybrid Powertrain

Ford is working with the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power and Folsom Technologies to develop a prototype F-150 light-duty pickup truck propelled by a hydraulic hybrid powertrain.

Hydraulic hybrids differ considerably from gas-electric hybrids, like the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid, but the goal is the same: to improve fuel efficiency.

“We have the potential to reach 40 miles per gallon or higher with hydraulic power,” said Perry Li, co-deputy director of CCEFP and a mechanical engineering professor. “But we feel like we don’t give up anything versus an electric hybrid, and there are no batteries and nothing to recycle.”

Instead of using batteries and electric motors, a hydraulic hybrid uses components called a reservoir and accumulator. The reservoir stores fluid that’s pressurized in the accumulator, which acts as a secondary energy source in tandem with the F-150’s internal combustion engine (a 4.6-liter V-8). The pressure is converted into energy that is sent to the rear wheels via what Li calls a “power split hydraulic hybrid architecture.”

The power split system variably combines power from the F-150’s V-8 with power from the accumulator inside a special hydraulic continuously variable transmission supplied by Folsom. The CVT adds two hydraulic pump-motors connected via a set of planetary gears, similar to the Chevy Silverado’s Two-Mode hybrid architecture which houses two electric motors inside the transmission to provide gasoline-free power as needed for efficiency.

Hydraulic hybrid diagram: CCEFP

“The combined fuel economy of the [stock] F-150 is around 16 to 18 mpg,” Li said. “By adding the CVT, we believe it will be above 20 mpg. When we add the hydraulic hybrid system, there’s the potential to reach 40 mpg or higher in urban driving. The gain is not as much on the highway, but it’s significantly better.”

Mileage is better in stop-and-go driving than highway cruising because the hydraulic system captures energy normally lost during braking – which also saves wear on wheel brakes – and uses that energy to recharge pressure in the accumulator, in a process called regeneration. Engine power can also be used to regenerate pressure.

Ford has donated the truck and is providing advice from its engineers on the CCEFP project.

This isn’t the first time Ford has partnered in research into hydraulic hybrids. In 2003, the company showed the Mighty F-350 Tonka concept which featured Hydraulic Launch Assist developed by Eaton.

Since then, Eaton has developed a production hydraulic hybrid system for garbage and delivery trucks that improves fuel economy by more than 25 percent in stop-and-go driving. However, it's been difficult to downsize and make a cost-effective system that works in passenger vehicles, which is where the CCEFP comes in.

The CCEFP is a network of seven universities and 55 industrial partners working together to create innovative breakthroughs in hydraulic and pneumatic technology. It's funded by the National Science Foundation.

Li hopes to start testing the hydraulic hybrid F-150 by the end of the year.

“Right now, the focus is on determining when to use the engine only versus hydraulic power,” Li said. “We need to balance efficiency and drivability. In 2012, we expect to get hard [fuel economy] numbers on the EPA test cycle.”

Improved fuel economy isn’t the only expected benefit.

“There’s also the potential to tow as much as a current F-150 or more,” Li said.


This hydraulic system does not burn gasoline to energize it. It uses kinetic energy stored during the braking and deceleration phases of driving and releases that on demand to help accelerate the vehicle back up to speed.
This helps reduce the fuel used in city driving immensly, and does not require the high resource and energy costs associated with electric assisted vehicles.
Much better for our enviroment if we reduce fuel and energy use now while at the same time working on a permanent replacement for fossil fuels. I don't see why the negativity towards a tech that could double truck fuel mileage now, instead of waiting 20 plus years for a hydrogen infrastructure to be in place.

Reading all these news stories about hydraulic hybrids on vehicles absolutely infuriates me!!! In 2005 I did a high school science fair project in which I built just such an apparatus; it used a hydrostatic propulson drive system off an L2 Gleaner (Allis-Chalmers) combine set in the exact setup this article talks of Ford using on a 91 Dodge W250 running gear. It used a Chrysler 360 V8 (carb, not TBI) that before i used it got a consistant 9 MPG due to excessive use as a ranch pickup; after I put the whole thing together it got 28 mpg!! I made it to the International Science and Engineering Fair with the project, but I distinctly remember an engineering instructor who was a judge at the state science fair at NDSU who told me that my project was a waste of time and had no future.

The following year i returned to the science fair with an engine I made that used magnets set in opposition to move the pistons. NO HYDROCARBON COMBUSTION!! NO ELECTRICITY!! Ironically enough i was blessed with the misfortune of the same judge at NDSU again with the same negative comments and even went so far as to tell me "You have no place in the engineering community." To which I responded "Well then you and your engineering community can kiss my ass."

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if that asswipe is the chief engineer of this project in the article.

To touch base on the future fuels subject, I have to agree with Lou. I think Hydrogen will be power future cars, Its cheap, renewable, and puts out zero emissions perfect for automotive use.

I recently watched a video clip on Youtube of a 2004 Dodge Ram 4.7L V8 that had been converted to run on pure Hydrogen. That truck was quite impressive. In the video the guys who put it all together explain how it works and what it does and even take it for a test drive. If they had not explained its use of Hydrogen earlier you would NOT be able to tell the difference from it and a gas powered 4.7L V8. Running on Hydrogen it sounded excatly the same, And in the video they said that it actually ran better on hydrogen than it did on conventional petrol. And they also stated they saw roughly a 10mpg avarage fuel econmy increase.

At first I was skeptical of hydrogen. But if it can be done in the manner it was done in that video clip I will support it 100%. Give some really talented engineers a few years and a heafty grant of cash to use and I would be willing to be Hydrogen fueld cars could be fine tuned and ready for mass production in the next 10 years or so.

But alas the Oil companys are not going to make it an easy accomplishment.

In my humble opionion. If it can be done as I described it in my earlier post everyone will win with Hydrogen cars. The automotive enthusiast ''such as myself'' get to keep their V8 sound and not feel like they are driving a golf car ''electric car'' and the greenie enviromentlest should be kept at bay due to the fact its a renewable source that doesn't relese harmful emissions.

But hey just my 2-cents.

Nate, I think the main problem with hydrogen is the infrastructure needed to contain and deliver the product. 96 Dodge, Ford has been working on this since early 2000, so they may think you were violating their patents.





We have plenty of oil,the U.S is just too stupid to drill for it !!

No such thing as man made global warming !!

Wake Up people !!

If all the cars get 65 mpg,they will toll all the roads to make up for the loss of TAX money,so actually you dreamers think your 40 mpg truck will be so great,but then you have a $500 bill in the mail every month for driving on the roads !! It's coming there is no free ride,this green b.s is going to make everybody broke !! The U.S is broke and they need tax money and you are getting it with this so-called green shift !!

Hope you enjoy being fooled,you will be like Europe soon and will be forced to ride a bike !! And you will only have yourselves to blame for it because of your ignorance,Good Day ! Washington is thinking of charging a monthly or yearly fee/tax on electric/hybrid cars because the loss of gas revenue,as the government makes more money than the oil companies do off every gallon of gas sold !

To anyone that thinks "Ford" engineers came up with this idea your wrong.

Ford is working with the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power and Folsom Technologies to develop

That means we heard about the idea and want to be the first to put it on our trucks. Ford is famous for copying someone else's idea and claiming they invented it. The motto at Ford is we have no idea's so we will copy or steal the competitions ideas. Oh wait a minute, I forgot Ford did invent the "man step" but that was out of necessity as no one could reach over the side of the truck because of it's height.

@ Tom

If there was eve a company wo would be so ignorant and frivilous and childish as to go after a high school science fair project because it encroached on their RESEARCH, it would be Ford Motor Company. Ford holds no patents on this setup, because the only thing they develop is the vehicle and adapters, everything else is made by someone else. And plus I applied for a patent and would have been granted one had i had the funds to cover the expenses.

Okay, how about this...

Great job Ford, for teaming up with a group that is developing this system! Does that make people like Bob and 96 Dodge?

@ Troll Bob -
1.Please list all of the ideas and vehicle inovations that Ford copied?

2.Is it a bad thing when a major company takes an idea that perhaps someone else developed and was unable to put to good use?

3.Is it a bad thing for a company to take technology and adapt it to make a vehicle better?

I thought I'd stop at 3.
Wouldn't want to stress you out by making you count higher.

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