Castrol innoVentures, Castrol’s innovation arm, has invested in Lightning Hybrids to help advance its hydraulic hybrid system, a fuel-efficient means of powering acceleration and reducing nitrogen oxide emissions in busy cities.
Headquartered in Loveland, Colorado, Lightning Hybrids provides fuel-efficient hydraulic hybrid systems for fleet delivery vehicles and buses that harvest brake energy, transforming the stop-start progress of working vehicles in urban environments that can result in up to a 35% increase in fuel efficiency and up to a 50% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions.
“Performance and innovation that respect the environment are key drivers for our company,” said Jon Salkeld, Technology Director, Castrol innoVentures. “Supporting innovative automotive research and manufacturing companies like Lightning Hybrids is an important aspect of our future; nurturing the next generation of engineering that supports greater fuel efficiency and helping us define future products.”
Lightning Hybrids applies a hydraulic hybrid system to the driveline of a vehicle to regenerate braking energy. There are no electric batteries; instead hydraulic pumps and a lightweight accumulator (energy storage unit) save braking energy and use it to provide torque to accelerate the vehicle. The fuel efficiency gains are achieved by regenerating the braking energy that is normally wasted and using this saved energy instead of the internal combustion engine for acceleration.
In the U.S. market, refuse fleets represent an excellent target for this technology. “Think of the energy a loaded refuse truck uses going from a stop, up to speed and then hard stopping again 200 feet later, and multiply that by 1000,” according to Bill Van Amburg, senior vice president of Calstart, a Pasadena non-profit that provides green technology consulting services for the trucking industry. He also stated, “It is not uncommon for three brake replacement/service intervals a year, which is very expensive.”1
“The Castrol innoVentures investment is a true partnership that allows us to leverage contacts in both supply chain and international customers providing growth and nurturing continued innovation for cleaner, cost-effective and reliable hybrids. In the past year, we have participated in third-party testing that has proven fuel efficiency gains of 35 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions reductions of over 50 percent. We’re excited to deliver this product to more customers around the globe, especially in places where fuel costs and emissions are critical and urgent problems,” stated Tim Reeser, president of Lightning Hybrids.
Lightning Hybrids has recently secured a substantial order from Kiessling Transit of Boston, MA for 35 shuttle buses. It has also shipped hybrid systems to India and Turkey for trials with fleets in Bangalore and Istanbul.
Lightning Hybrids designs and manufactures hybrid systems for medium and heavy duty fleet vehicles. The system provides fuel efficiency by regenerating braking energy, provides safer braking and more power for acceleration, and decreases greenhouse gas emissions. The Lightning Hybrids system does not have any batteries; instead it safely and efficiently stores energy mechanically in composite hydraulic accumulators, which are a fraction of the cost and weight of batteries. The system can be installed on new vehicles and can be retrofitted on vehicles already in service. www.lightninghybrids.com
Castrol innoVentures is the innovation and venturing arm of Castrol. Based in the UK with a global remit, it seeks out and invests in new business opportunities to support Castrol’s core lubricants business and to develop options beyond lubricants. www.castrolinnoventures.com