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In this paper, a new battery/ultracapacitor hybrid energy storage system (HESS) is proposed for electric drive vehicles including electric, hybrid electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Compared to the conventional HESS design, which uses a larger dc/dc converter to interface between the ultracapacitor and the battery/dc link to satisfy the real-time peak power demands, the proposed design uses a much smaller dc/dc converter working as a controlled energy pump to maintain the voltage of the ultracapacitor at a value higher than the battery voltage for the most city driving conditions. The battery will only provide power directly when the ultracapacitor voltage drops below the battery voltage. Therefore, a relatively constant load profile is created for the battery. In addition, the battery is not used to directly harvest energy from the regenerative braking; thus, the battery is isolated from frequent charges, which will increase the life of the battery. Simulation and experimental results are presented to verify the proposed system.