EPA Introduces the World's First Hydraulic Hybrid Delivery Truck
June 28, 2006
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled on June 21st the first-ever hydraulic hybrid diesel delivery vehicle, which is expected to achieve a 60 to 70 percent improvement in fuel economy over a standard delivery vehicle. The vehicle combines a high-efficiency diesel engine with a unique hydraulic propulsion system that replaces the conventional drivetrain and transmission. Hydraulic pumps and tanks store energy, just as electric motors and batteries store energy in hybrid electric vehicles. And like other hybrids, fuel economy is increased in three ways: while braking, the vehicle's kinetic energy is recovered and stored; while accelerating, the engine operates more efficiently; and when stopped or decelerating, the engine can be shut off. The EPA and UPS plan to evaluate the vehicle's fuel economy performance and emissions during a series of tests in 2006, including the use of the vehicle for UPS deliveries in Detroit over the next several months. The hydraulic hybrid is the result of a partnership between the EPA, U.S. Army, UPS, International Truck and Engine Corporation, and Eaton Corporation. See the EPA Web site and the UPS press release.
EPA is also working to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy for trucks on the West Coast. The EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership aims to upgrade 400 trucks that run along Interstate 5 with upgrade kits that include aluminum wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires; aerodynamic add-ons for trailers; auxiliary power units and bunk heaters to reduce unnecessary idling; and exhaust treatment devices to reduce emissions. Through a partnership with Cascade Sierra Solutions, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Oregon's Departments of Transportation and Energy, the EPA is offering the kits at a cost that will be paid back through fuel savings within one to three years. The EPA estimates that with full participation in the SmartWay program, it could save 3.3 to 6.6 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually by 2012. See the announcement on the EPA SmartWay Web site.