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[en] The hydraulic free-piston engine integrates the internal combustion engine with a hydraulic pump. The piston of an HFPE is not connected to the crankshaft and the piston movement is determined by the forces that act upon it. These features optimize combustion and make higher power density and efficiency increase. In this paper, a detailed thermodynamic and energy saving analysis is performed to demonstrate the fundamental efficiency advantage of an HFPE. The thermodynamic results show that the combustion process can be optimized to an ideal engine cycle. The experimental results show that the HFPE combustion process is a nearly constant-volume process; the efficiency is approximately 50%; the piston displacement and velocity curves for a cycle are the same at any frequency, even at a 1.25 Hz. The maximum velocities are of the same value at high or low frequencies. Similarly, pump output flow is not influenced by frequency. The independent cyclic characteristics of HFPE determine that it should work in higher frequencies when the vehicle runs in Japanese 10–15 road conditions. It indicates that a higher working frequency will lead to the starting frequency of HFPE, and a lower frequency will decrease the pressurized pressure of the hydraulic accumulator. - Highlights: • The thermodynamic and energy saving benefits of the HFPEs was investigated. • The approach of combustion optimization was obtained by adjusting the injection timing and compression ratio. • The high efficiency area of HFPE was given as a function of injection timing and compression pressure. • The maximum efficiency of HFPE of 50% was obtained from the prototype. • The method of energy saving with adjusting the piston frequency was examined.