Eaton To Develop Digital Hydraulic Hybrid Drive System For U.S. Army Vehicles

Eaton Corporation is adapting its advanced digital hydraulic hybrid drive system technology for U.S. Army vehicles. The goal of the project, which is being done in conjunction with Western Michigan University (WMU), is to develop smaller and lighter drivetrain components, increase fuel efficiency and improve traction and stability for Army tactical vehicles.

“Eaton has proven capabilities in integrating hydraulic, electronic, and mechanical torque control technologies into sophisticated and yet practical hybrid vehicle drivetrain applications,” said Yannis Tsavalas, Eaton vice president and chief technology officer. “The new hybrid drivetrains will offer significant advantages over existing systems, enabling the vehicles to carry more armored protection for the soldiers who use them.”

Development work will be conducted by scientists and engineers at Eaton’s Innovation Center in Southfield, Mich., in cooperation with WMU’s Center for Advanced Vehicle Design Simulation (CAVIDS) in Kalamazoo, Mich. Also actively involved in the project is Eaton’s hydraulics headquarters location in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.) provided key support in securing the U.S. Army project.

“The development of Eaton’s exciting hybrid technologies has the potential to transform the U.S. Army’s fleet of armored vehicles,” said Upton. “There is the real opportunity to improve fuel economy, allowing the vehicles to be out in the field for much longer periods of time before they need refueling.”

Tsavalas said that Eaton has participated in previously successful Army demonstration programs for hybrid hydraulic technology.

“Now, with this new program, the Army is asking us to deliver a smaller, lighter system with greater energy storage and regeneration capability to improve vehicle mobility,” he said. “Our challenge is to simultaneously reduce drivetrain weight and increase fuel efficiency by 50 percent or more. We expect to drive substantial improvements in current technology.”

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