Lightning Hybrids, designer and manufacturer of hydraulic brake regeneration systems for medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles, has been awarded a full US utility patent for the fourth generation of its parallel hybrid system.
The regeneration apparatus or hybrid system, which the patent grants exclusive rights and inventor status to Lightning Hybrids, uses hydraulic pumps and accumulators to capture braking energy and regenerate it for accelerating a vehicle.
Dan Johnson, Lightning Hybrids co-founder and CTO who co-invented the new patented system with senior controls engineer, Jonathan Reynolds, said the new patent built on previous generations and focused on making the system more efficient.
Johnson said a primary goal for the new patent was making the system lighter by using more aluminum in its construction and by having fewer parts.
Reynolds said new manufacturing processes were instrumental in achieving Lightning Hybrids’ patent goal.
Advanced manufacturing technologies helped us iterate our designs quickly to get to a finished product. We have utilized 3D printing, 3D scanning, CNC machining, carbon fiber manufacturing, thermal imaging and in-house PCB etching – all of which have helped us make some great breakthroughs, but real progress primarily comes from being dedicated to innovate.—Jonathan Reynolds
Lightning Hybrids' system provides 50 to 90 percent reduction in emissions as well as fuel efficiency gains by regenerating braking energy. The Lightning Hybrids system safely and efficiently stores energy mechanically in composite hydraulic accumulators, which are a fraction of the cost and weight of batteries.
The company said it has filed for international patent protection for the system and expects it to be awarded yet this year.
US 20140087916 A1 (application) Hydraulic regeneration apparatus