TOLEDO, Ohio -- Dana Corp. could begin manufacturing hybrid-hydraulic drive systems if the U.S. Army adopts the technology for its medium-duty trucks.
The Army is expected to decide soon whether it will employ the fuel-saving hybrid technology on 7,000 to 15,000 trucks on order. If the Army chooses a hybrid-hydraulic system, Dana could be the supplier.
"This fits with our technology focus," said Dana CEO Joe Magliochetti, who launched his company's hydraulic drive plans last week in a contract signing ceremony with the system's Australian developer.
Dana was granted exclusive rights to the Permo-Drive Technology Ltd. hydraulic system, should the Army approve a hydraulic system for its medium-duty trucks.
The Army is expected to begin receiving the trucks beginning in late 2005.
As many as 50,000 of the Army's fleet of medium-duty military trucks could be retrofitted with a hybrid
drive system, Dana and military officials say.
The Department of Defense, faced with the staggering expense of delivering fuel to the battlefield, expects to obtain a 30 percent fuel savings with the hybrid system on their medium-duty vehicles.
The hybrid system Dana could supply is a departure from the electric-hybrid system used by automakers.
The Regenerative Drive System designed by Permo-Drive stores mechanical energy directly instead of converting it to chemical energy.
Hydraulic fluid recaptured from braking energy can be selectively released as an acceleration boost by adding torque and as much as 340 hp on the medium-duty vehicle Dana was testing at its Michigan test track.
Ford made a similar "hydraulic launch assist" system from Eaton Corp. a feature in its F-350 Mighty Tonka concept truck in January 2002.
Such systems are useful for larger trucks whose torque requirement would quickly drain batteries in electric-hybrid systems.