Try a Hydraulic Drive Train: This Car of the Future Gets 75 MPG

Is this car of the future with a hydraulic drive train what is in store for automobiles? The redesigned car is made of off-the-shelf products available to anyone, so go make your own fuel-efficient vehicle!


| March/April 1978


It seems that Portland, Oregon's Vincent Carman isn't alone. At least one other group of inspired experimenters has found a way to use car hydraulics to vastly increase an automobile's gas mileage.

Bright Idea: A Hydraulic Drive Train

That group is a class of advanced students at Minneapolis, Minnesota's Hennepin Vocational Technical Center. And under the guidance of instructor Ernie Parker (and without ever having heard of Vince or his inertial storage transmission), the class recently designed and built what they call a "hydraulic storage transmission."

Does it work? It sure does! As the students have already demonstrated when their special drive train is coupled to a 16-hp Tecumseh engine, installed in a Volkswagen chassis and covered with a Bradley GT body, the resulting one-of-a-kind automobile will travel (at speeds up to 70 mph) an incredible 75 miles on a single gallon of gas.

That's impressive, especially when you remember that the HVTC fuel-stretcher was entirely constructed from off-the-shelf components that are readily available to any home mechanic in any part of the country. The sleek little automobile contains absolutely no exotic technology or hardware at all.

It All Began in 1920

The HVTC class project was originally launched because of a 1920 magazine article brought in by student Tom Steincamp. The piece described an automobile with a hydraulic drive train and labeled the vehicle "the car of the future." Some library research and a few group discussions soon convinced the class that the idea was a good one but that it would be even better if an energy saving accumulator was added to the hydraulic system.

Before long, Parker's crew had roughed out a preliminary design of the new hydraulic drive. And the concept looked so good on paper that the group simply decided to go ahead and build one to see how it would work.

Derpy Redneck
2/22/2018 6:03:04 PM

If somebody builds hydraulic transmission meant to improve the mpg of engines and sees this comment on here, please consider taking Vincent Carman's Inertial Storage Transmission, but build it with variable displacement hardware, the HVTC's ability to allow an engine's RPMs to vary based on the amount of pressure drawn that is in the drive line's accumulator and how fast that pressure is being drawn off while using as few electronics as possible!! You can't lose!


Derpy Redneck
2/22/2018 5:59:22 PM

If somebody builds hydraulic transmission meant to improve the mpg of engines and sees this comment on here, please consider taking Vincent Carman's Inertial Storage Transmission, but build it with variable displacement hardware, the HVTC's ability to allow an engine's RPMs to vary based on the amount of pressure drawn that is in the drive line's accumulator and how fast that pressure is being drawn off while using as few electronics as possible!! You can't lose!


Derpy Redneck
2/22/2018 5:54:25 PM

Let's build a hydraulic transmission, but build it so it can use the HVTC's variable displacement pumping and the HVTC's ability to allow an engine's rpm to vary according to the amount of pressure that is in the drive line's accumulator and how fast that pressure is being drawn off as the only changes to Vincent Carman's IST Transmission, then make it all mechanical(no electronics!). That could be our best bet!






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