Ford, EPA to develop hydraulic hybrid

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. and the EPA are developing a hybrid powertrain that combines an internal combustion engine with a hydraulic propulsion system instead of an electric motor.

Ford spokesman Jon Harmon said the hydraulic-hybrid drivetrain should be more efficient than a gasoline-electric hybrid.

The size of the internal combustion engine, he said, can be reduced and tuned to run at maximum efficiency.

Ford plans to have a running prototype in the lab by next year and a fleet of vehicles, probably trucks, on the road by the end of the decade.

Harmon said the EPA is contributing money and engineers to the project, which is being developed at the EPA's Ann Arbor, Mich., laboratory and at Ford's r&d center in Dearborn, Mich.

You can reach Richard Truett at rtruett@crain.com

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