Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Hydraulic Powerpack for 4-Wheel Drive (ST10577-1)

Magna Powertrain USA, Inc.


In four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicles with active traction control, multiple clutches are used and each is operated by its own electric motor. A proposed alternative is to use a single hydraulic power source (i.e., “powerpack”) to provide clutch actuation. By use of lightweight pistons and accumulators the overall weight of the driveline system could be reduced, leading to fuel economy gains.

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Project Description

The work entailed: characterizing hydraulic systems, such as anti-lock brakes, that perform functions similar to the proposed product; developing design and simulation algorithms and computer simulation models to speed and standardize the product design process; identifying and characterizing vehicles and duty cycles to which the powerpack would be applied; developing product specifications and preliminary powerpack designs; investigating fabrication methods and materials that could produce the desired product at low cost and in high quantities; updating the computer simulation models to incorporate the data developed in prior tasks; and, defining a development path leading to a detailed design of a mass-produced version of the subject product.


Future production and deployment of the subject product could provide benefits in terms of increased fuel economy, reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and smog-forming compounds, and retention of manufacturing jobs.

Project Results

This preliminary project resolved many technical issues, but a severe downturn in the market for 4WD products caused further development work to be put on indefinite hold.


Magna Powertrain USA, Inc.
6600 New Venture Gear Dr
East Syracuse, NY 13057

Principle Investigator

Tim Burns

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Light Duty

NYSERDA Contact Information

Joseph Wagner


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10577-1

Last Updated: 7/5/2011 5