The Virginia Tech entry is my design. Tech will have a functional prototype built by late spring 2009. Alan Kornhauser was born one month after myself (11-22-50).
I first posted on GCC in the summer of 2006. The original engine design was the topic of my first post.
My design has also been published in the August 2008 edition of the Journal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Dr. Kornhauser told me that the design we are working on has 3 distinct advantages over anything he has seen previously.
Few people I have ever met have the insight into the systematic approach I have dedicated the last 8 years to perfecting. One of them is Dr. Kornhauser.
The second one is an engineer at NASA who has a Doctorate in Theoretical Engineering from MIT. he is probably one of the most intelligent people I have ever met in my lifetime.
I knew I was heading in the right direction when he told me the potential for mileage improvement would be dramatic.
I don't want to build garbage trucks, my design is focused on providing transportation for the whole planet, for those who have never been able to affort the priviledge of being in a position to transport themselves tens of miles to places where employment is available that could change their lives, while at the same time having no impact of the environment.
The interest Tech has demonstrated has been the result of years of rejection, hundreds of attempts to communicate this concept to virtually every entity you could imagine. Every excuse possible has been presented as the grounds for rejection.
Sometimes in a persons life opportunities arise to really make a difference in the way we as humans interact with the ecology of the planet we were so fortunate to inherit from out ancestors. This idea is far beyond my means of presentation or interpretation.
I am only the messenger, focus on the message. It is far more important than my short time on this planet.
I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss garbage trucks. They are a great way to bring the technology to fruition more quickly.
Motive: Garbage trucks must use HUGE amounts of fuel doing exactly the stuff that the hydraulic hybrid system excels at. These trucks weighing 40,000 pounds or more stop at every driveway of every house in every suburb, then accelerate to the next house. They need regeneration but can't afford to drag around batteries to store energy.
Ease of investment: Because garbage trucks are so expensive, the expense to invest in a new drive technology isn't as large of a burden compared to the rest of the vehicle. Also, it might be possible to integrate the existing hydraulic systems with the new one, reducing cost and perhaps improving performance.
Ease of maintenance: They also have fleet-style maintenance, necessary for supporting new technology...and their mechanics are already comfortable with hydraulic systems. I know that you insist that it's a low-maintenance system, but I have to believe that a new technology in its first real-world application will present some maintenance challenges.
More motive: They are fleet vehicles owned by large companies with a big environmental image problem; people see waste removal companies as terrible for the environment, while the companies struggle to be environmentally friendly and to make that effort visible. They need something like that and will pour money and effort into making the world know that they're using it.
I can totally see garbage trucks as a market entrance vector (if that phrase makes sense). It starts with garbage trucks and spreads from there, thanks to proof of real-world application and lots of marketing by waste disposal companies eager to shed their trashy image.
The models get bigger, then they get replaced by new models the size of the old model's original size. Civic grows, Fit replaces it. Corolla grows, Yaris replaces it. Sentra grows, Versa replaces it. Cobalt (or its previous name, Cavalier) grows, Aveo replaces it.
Looks like Ford is bringing out the Fiesta for MY 2011. I don't know what Chrysler has for particularly small cars.
The nice thing about Gary's ideas is that they will work fine on larger vehicles, evidenced by the EPA's 3800 pound pickup truck gettin 80mpg. Making vehicles smaller, like making engines smaller, is effective but not necessarily the only way.
A few thoughts on this. Honda was making very fuel efficient vehicles back in the 80s. These cars are 20 years old now and still get superior gas mileage. As the years progressed, the fuel economy worsened. The introduction of the HX was a huge blow to Honda's gas mileage capabilities. The HX is basically the same technology as the VX, only it gets 10 fewer miles per gallon.
As for the Civic HX and subsequent vehicles that were fuel economy minded yet received worse marks in fuel economy, I think the primary reason they get worse mileage is simply because of its transmission. Emissions can be a factor but obviously weren't if you consider that the '92 VX gets the same mileage as the '95 VX despite emissions becoming much more stringent in 1994. The final drive on the CRX HF is 3.25 for California/High Altitude or 2.95 for the FED which received the higher marks in fuel economy. The final drive in the Civic VX is 3.25 and the final drive in the '96-'00 Civic HX is 3.722 and 3.842 in the '01-'05 Civic HX. However, one thing you may be surprised to see is that in the vanilla civics (DX,LX,EX), the fuel economy has remained the same or slightly improved whilst the final drives INCREASED! The primary factor for why these vehicles aren't getting the mileage that we expect comes down to manufacturer's anticipating consumer preference.
In the Americas, there is an expectation of small cars being "zippy" and zippy cars tend to not weigh a portly 2800lbs compared to the anemic 2100lbs the Civic VX weighs. So, to be quick, despite good engine designs, they get worse mileage than we feel they should. I feel Honda should add as a simple option to change out the final drives in their transmissions of these vehicles to let them get the mileage they deserve. If people saw the mileage these vehicles could get, maybe some would reconsider purchasing these vehicles for the sole purpose of a practical gas sipper.