|Rendering of the LH4. Click to enlarge.|
Colorado start-up Lightning Hybrids will unveil the prototype of its hydraulic hybrid four-seat sports sedan at the Denver Auto Show 1-5 April. This will also mark the public debut for the hydraulic hybrid drivetrain.
The car, the LH4, features a 240 hp (179 kW) drivetrain consisting of a 90 hp (67 kW) proprietary 2-stroke biodiesel and 150 hp (112 kW) hydraulic system. The car will average 100 miles to the gallon and will be able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds. It has a unique clamshell door that opens upward to allow for superior aerodynamics. Cd on the car is 0.20.
The car will also be available in a three-door four-seat car, and the drivetrain technology will be made available in a fleet vehicle retrofit called a Hybrid Retrofit System (HRS) in mid-2010. Lightning Hybrids is also developing the LH3, a three-wheel commuter vehicle using the same drivetrain.
Lightning Hybrids is keeping specific design details secret, pending US and international patent filings. The company says it anticipates numerous patent filings are anticipated, the most significant attributable to the design of an integrated hydraulic axial piston engine. Claimed features of the drivetrain include:
- Lightweight; <1 lb/hp
- true cylinder deactivation for high part load efficiency
- no transmission
- no valves, flywheel or crankshaft weights
- 100% energy braking recovery
A small carbon fiber accumulator operating between 5,000-7,000 psi will provide for braking recovery energy storage, and will provide power for a full throttle launch to 60 mph in under 5.9 seconds.
Conventional space frame design techniques fabricated from chrome molybdenum tubing will provide the major structural elements, very similar to Indy and formula cars.
Founded in 2008, Lightning Hybrids has designed two hydraulic hybrid cars. Prototype manufacturing began in January 2009. The two cars will compete in the 2010 Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize race, with $10 million in prizes to be awarded to the teams that win a stage race for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPGe.