Hydraulic hybrid sports sedan gets first public demo drive

lightning_hybrids_lh4_eQsef_48A new hydraulic hybrid sports sedan is turning laps around its home town of Loveland, CO today to demonstrate its performance of to media, potential customers, and local citizens. Lightning Hybrids LH4 four-seat sport sedan is expected to be available for sale in 2012, reportedly accelerates from 0 – 60 MPH in less than six seconds and should achieve 100 mpg.

The LH4 should be available in 2011 and the company says it already has a waiting list for the car. The car will also be available in a three-wheeled four-seat car, called the LH3, and the hydraulic-biodiesel hybrid drivetrain will be available in a retrofit kit suitable for fleets as well. The LH3 and the drivetrain retrofit are scheduled for 2010.

The Bosch Rexroth Hydrostatic Regenerative Braking (HRB) system under the LH4 is used primarily in large trucks. The system converts braking energy into hydraulic energy by pressurizing an accumulator with fluid. The process is reversed during acceleration, which provides energy for the drivetrain.

“We are very excited about showing how the hydraulic hybrid works. The car will be running, though we have to save actual test drives for later this summer,” said Dan Johnson, Lightning Hybrids CEO. “We will also be answering the number one question we receive about the car which is ‘How does it open?’ We will be able to show you how the door functions and guests will be welcome to sit in the car.”

The car being developed is vying to win the Progressive Automotive X Prize, the $10-million contest to develop a 100-mpg or equivalent vehicle ready for mass production.