We first wrote about Lightning Hybrids back in April during the 2009 Denver Auto Show. The Denver Auto Show was the first showing of their prototype LH4 Hydraulic Hybrid vehicle. Yes, you read that correctly—Hydraulic Hybrid.Haven’t heard of Lightning Hybrids? That may be because they have been in business for only a year last October. It could also be because they aren’t in the mainstream yet. Notice I said yet. Lightning Hybrids, located in Loveland, Colorado, is ending this year on a good note with patents in process for new hydraulic hybrid innovations. These innovations are as follows from Lightning Hybrids:

Power Transfer Module
Our PTM replaces the vehicle's torque converter.  Since it replaces an existing part, no modifications are required for the drivetrain (such as driveshaft changes, transmission change-outs, etc.) which significantly reduces the cost and increases vehicle efficiency since the torque converter is a major source of inefficiency in stop-and-go driving. 

Dual Tank System
HHS has designed a two-in-one system with proprietary valves that reduces connections and hoses by surrounding a carbon fiber high pressure accumulator with an aluminum low pressure reservoir.  The design reduces connections and hoses, a significant benefit when dealing with 5,000 PSI.  Standard steel accumulators weigh over 500 pounds, the carbon fiber tank weighs in under 150 pounds, another way to increase system efficiency.

Controls System
The HHS controls system is proprietary and is unique because we are tying into the On-Board Diagnostics of the vehicle to which the system is applied which allows us to achieve ten percent better fuel mileage improvements when used in conjunction with our PTM. 

Hydraulic System
The hydraulic system is uniquely configured to utilize a standard and proven variable displacement pump in conjunction with a specially-designed valve manifold and uniquely configured high and low pressure tank system.


The LH4 Prototype at the Open House Event in Loveland, Colorado. Photo by Jonathan McGrew.

The LH4 Prototype at the Open House Event in Loveland, Colorado. Photo by Jonathan McGrew.

The hydraulic hybrid system that Lightning Hybrids has designed could be another avenue for automotive manufactures in the future, especially trucks. In fact, the need for retrofit kits to current vehicles has been so strong that Lightning Hybrids spun of another company, Hydraulic Hybrid Systems, LLC.

Be sure to check out both Lightning Hybrids and Hydraulic Hybrid Systems at their websites.