|NRG Dynamix (formerly Hybra-Drive Systems LLC) In the Spring of 2004, Hybra-Drive Systems, LLC, the company that would develop the first Full-Series Hydraulic Hybrid and later become NRG Dynamix, opened quietly in rural Southeastern Michigan. Its founder, Jim O'Brien wanted to make a powertrain that employed the simplicity of hydraulics, while leveraging the power of efficient storage and controlled discharge. He wanted to create a fuel-saver that was also a kick to drive.
So, Jim and his wife Sharon, who had together previously formed O'Brien Engineered Products, hung out their second shingle and raced to bring to market a powertrain that would improve fuel economy, reduce carbon footprint and, above all, satisfy driver demand for performance.
Early development was a 1968 Beetle powered by a 6-1/2 horsepower lawnmower engine. A gas-powered wood-splitter was attached to the hitching ball of the Beetle and completed the crude-looking hydraulic ensemble. The wood-splitter was the predecessor of the current energy storage accumulators that the firm has since patented. In addition to the accumulators, the company patented a variable-displacement gear pump whose design it would later make available for license. In 2006, the fledgling company entered into its first customer opportunity - developing a much more powerful version of its hybrid technology for the US Department of Defense under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). In January of 2007, after having the newly developed hybrid sitting in 4 degree weather, this modified HMMWV wowed representatives of the DOD with acceleration far beyond that of standard HMMWV's. Because it delivered so much power, on the third demonstration the stress destroyed the rear differential leaving the front wheels to drag the vehicle some 100 feet before it was stopped by the driver. The witnesses to this were so engaged to see such performance from a hybrid system, so basic in design, that a "19 year old kid could fix it". This start-up company then took on its first development revenue from the DOD and the foundation of NRG Dynamix was laid.
Spring of 2009 was a pivotal year for the company. Having received Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) funding and the backing of Venture Capital Firms Khosla Ventures and Ridgewood Capital, as well as the backing of an angel investor, the company transformed Hydraulic Hybrid Powertrain technology by introducing the Drop 'N Hybrid®. As the company continues to grow, it pledges to remain true to its roots - simplicity, efficiency and control.