The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed its first cooperative agreement with an automobile company for the purpose of developing EPA patented technology for a hybrid high-efficiency vehicle.WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2002-01-08 [SolarAccess.com] The agency’s laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, originally developed the hydraulic hybrid systems to combine engines fueled by gasoline or diesel with hydraulic pumps and hydraulic storage tanks that store energy. The hydraulic system would take the place of electric motors and batteries used in electric hybrid vehicles that currently are marketed in the U.S. and, similar to electric hybrids, the hydraulic hybrid would use energy produced from applying brakes to power the vehicle. EPA says hydraulic hybrids could have cost and power advantages over electric hybrids. The technology to be developed under this agreement has the potential to improve the fuel economy of light-duty trucks and sport utility vehicles, which could reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save consumers money at the pump. While it will take time for this technology to be introduced into the marketplace, this agreement commits Ford to invest “significant resources” in further development of the proprietary technology, with the aim of putting a pilot fleet of vehicles on the road by the end of the decade.