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Breakthrough Fuel Saving Technology At 2002 North American International Auto Show

DETROIT--Jan. 7, 2002--Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation today said it has developed a practical method to recover energy normally lost during vehicle braking, and convert it into hydraulic power that can be used for vehicle acceleration. Announcement of the breakthrough, which industry experts estimate could result in vehicle fuel savings of 25 to 35 percent in some key applications, was made in Detroit at the 2002 North American International Auto Show today.

The technology, called Hydraulic Launch Assist (HLA), has been developed by Eaton in a collaborative program with Ford Motor Company, and was unveiled at the show in the Ford Mighty F-350 TONKA concept truck. The HLA product could be readied for commercial introduction by mid-decade, and Eaton said the total potential for this technology could approach $500 million industry-wide by the end of the decade.

Alexander M. Cutler, Eaton Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said, ``We are pleased to be a participant in this unique, potentially game-changing program with Ford and the U. S. EPA. HLA has the potential to significantly impact two critical areas of long term concern to ongoing vehicle development: fuel economy and exhaust emissions. For those reasons, we have already invested millions of dollars in HLA-related work, and recently signed both a technology license agreement and a cooperative research and development agreement with the EPA for the development of future generation systems. We are highly optimistic about the future of this technology.''

HLA is part of a larger hydraulic hybrid development effort for automotive powertrains first announced in October, 2001. Eaton's role in the collaborative effort with Ford and the EPA is to provide HLA system architecture, hardware design and electronic controls expertise.

HLA works by recovering a portion of the energy normally wasted as heat by the vehicle's brakes. This converted energy is held in fluid form in an on-board reservoir, or accumulator, until the driver next accelerates the vehicle. Fuel savings occurs when the stored energy is then used in conjunction with the engine-based power in the initial, high-fuel-consumption acceleration of the vehicle. Eaton officials said acceleration is ``brisk'', due to the high power density of hydraulics, and energy transfer is virtually transparent to the driver.

Hydraulic energy recovery technology for the HLA program was developed primarily within Eaton's $2.5 billion Fluid Power business, with assistance from the company's Innovation Centers in Southfield, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Eaton's Fluid Power business has long been an innovator in the design and application of hydraulics and is a worldwide leader in the manufacture and marketing of a complete line of hydraulic systems and components for mobile, industrial, automotive and aerospace applications. Primary products include pumps; motors; electronic controls; steering units; valves; hydrostatic transmissions; hoses, fittings and assemblies; cylinders; and integrated systems.

Eaton Corporation is a global $8 billion diversified industrial manufacturer that is a leader in fluid power systems; electrical power quality, distribution and control; automotive engine air management and fuel economy; and intelligent truck systems for fuel economy and safety. Eaton has 49,000 employees and sells products in more than 50 countries. For more information, visit