By definition a hybrid is a vehicle that gets its motive power from two sources.
My design concept uses a power source (pick your favorite) an accumulator (flywheel or hydraulic) to store engine (or motor) power where it is applied to the wheels through only the accumulator.
The wheels themselves are the transmission capable of infinite variation of their ratios.
The engine runs to maintain a range of minimum and maximum accumulator pressure (or flywheel speed), which allows for storage of up to 10 times the sustainable power output of the motor (or engine). The process is reversible when deceleration is desired, with the conversion of braking energy into increased accumulator (or flywheel) reserves to be utilized for the next acceleration event.
The engine is no longer connected to the accelerator pedal. Instead the accelerator pedal determines the ratio of the in wheel transmissions which propel the vehicle. Think of a hydraulic catapult similar to those used in launching planes from an aircraft carrier (steam driven now).
This design by definition is not a hybrid, since all power is delivered to the vehicle by the accumulatr (or flywheel).
Each in wheel drive transmission replaces the friction braking components on an equal weight basis, meaning you are not adding weight to the total weight of the mass of your sprung weight, so there is not a negative impact on ride quality.
Another advantage is the fact that you can downsize the engine to increase its overall efficiency. You could even use electric motors with batteries for storage, or a combination of power sources. Smaller engines with forced induction would make it possible to climb the steepest grades.
Add improved aerodynamics as so clearly demonstrated by our friend basjoos and you can have a dramatic improvement in mileage.
We hypermilers squeeze every ounce of fuel energy out of or vehicles by becoming the brains of the system and altering our driving styles to achieve the best possible conservation of the linear inertia of our vehicles.
My design moves that process from our brains to the vehicle itself, and when that objective is finally achieved, whether by my efforts or those of someone else with a better design, hypermiling will be accomplished by the vehicle itself and we will be able to go back to a "normal" driving style while the artificial intelligence in the vehicle itself will do our hypermiling for us.
I saw a similar design in popular science a few years back and it looked like a great design then (and still is now) but I haven't seen it implemented yet. The design I saw just filled the accumulator during braking and then used the built up pressure to launch the car on the next acceleration. Its a very clever idea to effectively make a car into a hydraulic wind-up toy, especially considering you use the most gas while accelerating, why waste all that kinetic energy braking, when you can store it for the next acceleration? I personally would love to see a design like this done in real life to see what kind of benefits/downfalls it has.
Big oil execs making 32mil a year and we're paying upwards of $4 a gallon.. Hubberts peak you say? Oh ok, I believe you.
I like the idea. maybe put this on the rear wheels of a front wheel drive car. that way you can just go down the road normal until breaking and then use it to start you off again. engage the motor after you are rolling 45 mph or so.
I am not quite smart enough or adventurous enough to try something like that. I'd love to see it work in some sort of prototype.
Be the change you wish to see in the world
Selective 4 wheel drive is essential for 4 wheel regeneration. It also makes it only necessary to build each unit knowing it only has to provide 1/4 of your power to the wheels. Any wheel is its own independent variable displacement pump motor, you merely destroke it to put it in neutral. Two wheel drive 4 wheel drive. How about diagonal foreward and rear wheel drive to help in high speed cornering situations.
The INDY Rules have been changed to allow regenerative braking.
But here is the real kicker, in your thoughts separate the acceleration energy from the limits of the engine. You are compressing fluid that has 500KW per KG in storage capability.
Now you can size the engine for specific situations. Live on the coast with no elevation use a smaller engine. The size of the engine is not the determining factor in acceleration. Engine size determines your ability to climb sustained severe grades. Even with the same size engine you would merely cycle it less to maintain the same reserve capacity. Bigger runs less smaller runs more, same BSFC, different cycle durations.
Take a 1 liter turbocharged (but not intercooled) diesel and the engine only runs in its sweet spot as it recharges the accumulator.
Launch assist is a stand alone regenerative axle.
But it is also your drive imput separator. Its not the engine getting you there unless you have already unwound the hydraulic "spring". This same regenerative system also has the ability to run off generated power, which means you can use the accumulator to cycle the engine and maintain a constant speed.
You want acceleration reverse engineer it from the wheels back. Pick the break away torque for your tires and that determines the diameter of your pistons. Run pressure sufficient to spin the wheels then regulate that pressure for traction conditions.
Since you can design the system to pin the wheels at any second, naturally yopu would have unbelievable good acceleration. The true limit to acceleration is the tires staying in contact with the road.
Every time you decelerate you recover 90% of the energy, you resue it to reaccelerate. Even if you stomped on the gas and then on the brake and you went 120 feet foreward then came to a stop in 120 feet, you would still have 81% of your original energy.
Through this whole cycle your engine was not running!
It's job is to add the 18% back. It can wait until thats 36%, or even 50%.
Bye bye hypermiling, now your vehicle has the ability to do the same thing on cruise control.