If someone told you that they had rebuilt a Nissan 4x4 truck to run with no internal combustion engine or fossil fuels, you would likely think that there's no conceivable way this could work.Shelbyville Times-Gazette: Story: Inventors claim truck runs on hydraulic power
And so did this writer. That is, until he saw it for himself.
Randy Nichols and Andrew Lamb of Unionville appear to have actually come up with a way of getting around without filling up the gas tank. And with this truck, there isn't much of a choice, because it doesn't have anyplace for the fuel.
"You could take this vehicle to California right now and never have to fill it up," Lamb says. "You never have to do anything to it."
This is a bold claim. But seeing is believing and the pair popped the hood to reveal the missing space. Just two car batteries, an AC/DC converter, a hydraulic motor, a small electric motor and various hoses are left sitting around the empty space which once housed the engine. The rear part of the truck has been stripped back to show no gas tank or exhaust system.
Rolling it off a trailer, the two hometown inventors wasted no time showing what it could do. Instead of the typical sound of an engine. there is a whining-type sound similar to a golf cart motor, but somewhat louder.
And sure enough, Lamb began to drive their prototype down the parking lot of Community School, just with the power generated by Nichols' and Lamb's contraption.
While it reached only about 10 MPH around the lot, Lamb asserts that they've clocked the truck at 42 MPH, adding that he needed to put a little more hydraulic fluid in it to get more pressure for better speed.
Nichols came up with the idea some seven years ago while working as an over-the-road truck driver. With nothing to do late at night, he began getting the idea for a vehicle without an engine.
"So I began writing them down drawing them out ... then I'd look at 'em the next day, say 'nah' and throw them out," he said.
It took several tries, but he came up with the basic concept and then worked on the blueprints for this invention for over six years. After that, he and Lamb have been working over the past year to put it all together.
This is how it works: A hydraulic pump forces the fluid to a hydraulic motor, turning the flywheel, which is what powers the vehicle in a gasoline engine.
"From the flywheel to the back, it's the same, nothing has been modified," Lamb said.
Taking the gas engine out, they installed a tiny DC motor on the flywheel, which powers the transmission and the vehicle. Lamb said the truck also has a complete charging system, which was the hardest part of the design, taking them about eight months to get right.
It is powered on a 24-volt system and the pair were reluctant to give away any more secrets, mainly due to the fact they haven't patented their invention yet.
"This thing can be modified to work on something as small as a motorcycle or a big as a tractor trailer," Lamb claims.
"I know this can be proved a thousand times," Nichols said, referring to their prototype.
Lamb added that they've put a lot of tears into the work. Some of the pieces were machined just for the invention, others are used parts you can find anywhere. They had to create their own ignition system for the truck.
The pair put the invention in the 4x4 to demonstrate that a larger vehicle could be powered by the system, stating that if they used a smaller car like a Geo, they wouldn't be taken seriously.
Lamb said once they hook up a larger DC engine to the flywheel, it will go faster than a gas powered vehicle. It goes pretty far on just $3 of hydraulic fluid rather than the same amount worth of gasoline, Lamb claims.
The two "country boys," as they call themselves, jokingly said they were worried that the gas companies would have them done away with if they became successful with the device.
"Look, gas is sky high," Nichols said. "And I've become one of these pollution freaks. You've got to fix it. No gas. No pollution."
"It's not the prettiest truck in the world," Lamb said. "But as you can see, it does work."