from the batteries-are-so-2010 dept.
thecarchik writes "Chrysler announced Wednesday that it would partner with the US Environmental Protection Agency to build and test prototypes of a different kind of hybrid vehicle, one that accumulates energy not in a battery pack but by compressing a gas hydraulically. The system in question, originally developed at the EPA labs, uses engine overrun torque to capture otherwise wasted energy, as do conventional hybrid-electric vehicles. The engine is Chrysler's standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder, the base engine in its minivan line. But rather than turning a generator, that torque powers a pump that uses hydraulic fluid to increase the pressure inside a 14.4-gallon tank of nitrogen gas, known as a high-pressure accumulator."
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