"This new powertrain is more efficient than electric hybrid powertrains being used in such cars as Toyota Prius and Ford Escape" says James O'Brien owner of Hybra-Drive Systems. What is Hybra-drive? It's a regenerative braking system that uses pressurized fluid to store the braking energy. "We are not aware of anything else like it" says O'Brien. The Hybra-drive website says it "improves fuel economy by upwards of 60% and reduces emissions by upwards of 90% while maintaining a platform that costs the same, weighs the same, and has the same cargo capacity."

Hybra-Drive Systems' first big contract is with the Army. Hybra-Drive systems is converting a Hummer to use the hydraulic hybrid system. "TACOM heard we were working on it and they called us," O'Brien told the Monroe News. "The military seems to see value in what we're doing. ... The Army's main goal is giving the soldiers the ability to get out of harm's way quickly." There is also interest in the company from all over the world, from Canada to Taiwan.

"This design has high potential" writes Dr. Ram Chandran, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering. He says this system is in fact more efficient than electric regenerative breaking. O'Brien says it has other advantages over batteries like the lack of toxins. The fluid used in the system is biodegradable and made from plants. O'Brien thinks you could see this commercialized, in more traditional vehicles, within three years.

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[Source: Monroe News]