James A. O’Brien II had a dream and, over just a few short years, that dream has become reality in the Drop ‘N Hybrid™ – a full-series hydraulic hybrid system.
The dream began in the late 1990’s, when O’Brien was immersed in electric propulsion innovations. Roadblocks, including battery issues, kept getting in the way. Then, he realized that he could address many of the roadblocks with hydraulics and do so in a very affordable way.
O’Brien developed and installed the initial hydraulic hybrid power train (HHPT) in Ford Rangers. Now, NRG Dynamix, the Michigan-based company of which O’Brien is CEO and President, is ready to commercialize the Drop ‘N Hybrid™. The initial focus is light commercial trucks, simply because it is so easy to prove return on investment due to fuel cost savings.
Recently, a postal vehicle equipped with the Drop ‘N Hybrid™ realized a 60% fuel savings, going from approximately 15 mpg to more than 25 mpg. If the rigorous stop-and-go, duty-cycle testing of city- and rural-route postal delivery service vehicles currently underway replicates the initial results, the USPS could save more than $3 million dollars a day in fuel costs.
Equally important to air quality, independent tests show the Drop N’ Hybrid also reduces emissions by up to 90%.
According to O’Brien, “NRG Dynamix has the only hydraulic hybrids possessing single pressure compensated controls in a clean, easily installed Drop ’N Hybrid™ module, looking just like an automatic transmission. So innovative is the design that it is intended, in time, to compete directly with automatic transmissions in cost and still deliver more than 50 percent improvement in fuel economy.”
The Drop ‘N Hybrid™ is a full-series hybrid – the system drives the wheels. The vehicle engine is used primarily to pressurize the hydraulic system and always operates in the optimal range, even shutting down when not needed. The system fits between the frame rails of most vehicles, providing increased safety and avoiding costly architecture and engine modifications. Minimal maintenance occurs at regular vehicle maintenance intervals.
From dream to reality – saving fuel, reducing emissions and creating jobs.
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