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Oshkosh Truck Unveils Series-Hybrid Refuse Vehicle

The ProPulse hybrid system applied in a tactical vehicle. Click to enlarge.

Oshkosh Truck Corporation is presenting its proprietary ProPulse series-hybrid drive technology in a refuse vehicle application at the 2006 Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF) during the 6th National HTUF meeting being held in San Diego, California, 14-16 November.

The OshKosh ProPulse system, which is also designed for application in military vehicles, uses a modular series-hybrid arrangement. The diesel engine powers an electric generator, which provides direct power to the wheels, eliminating the torque converter, automatic transmission, transfer case and drive shafts.

The system uses ultracapacitors for energy storage rather than batteries. A regenerative braking function stores engine energy and then uses it to assist in the next braking operation, reducing wear and tear on the brake system.

The ProPulse hybrid drive system helps the engine to operate at the optimum operating point for required energy demand, providing increased fuel economy, reduced emissions, lower life-cycle costs and lower interior and exterior noise profiles.

As designed for the refuse application, the ProPulse system combines a 300 hp diesel engine with a 225 kW generator and ultracapacitors (1.4 MJ) to drive two 140 hp traction motors. The modular hybrid system allows for electrification of ancillary systems and accessories.

We are extremely excited to introduce this remarkable technology to the refuse market. Our ProPulse hybrid drive system could significantly reduce fuel costs. During extensive customer field tests, it has shown improved fuel efficiency of 20 to 50 percent over the typical refuse trucks.

—Don Verhoff, Oshkosh Executive Vice President, Engineering Technology

Oshkosh Truck is the leading refuse collection body manufacturer in the world through McNeilus Companies Inc. and the Geesink Norba Group, both Oshkosh Truck Corporation companies. In addition to the refuse vehicle application, Oshkosh has developed an 8 x 8 heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT-A3) that uses the ProPulse hybrid electric drives technology for military applications.

The ProPulse hybrid electric drive technology was developed for the refuse vehicle application as part of the Advanced Heavy Hybrid Propulsion System Project sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Key partners in this four-year development effort were Rockwell Automation, The Ohio State University and John Miller Enterprises.




Can anyone tell me what the power loss by using a generator/motor system is in comparison to a conventional transmission and driveshaft? I know a similar system is used in most locomotives, and I've wondered why there aren't road vehicles with this arrangement.


31-49 tons, heavy trucks. I wonder what it it's highway and city MPG profiles are like vs conventional setup. This is specifically geared towards refuse trucks, w/predominately stop and go driving profiles. Series hybrids tend to lag behind vs parallel hybrids and conventionals, when it comes to highway driving.


Generally, the best one can hope for is somewhere in the 80-89% range. Most of the time, it is lower-even 60% w/ poor setups.


Generally series hybrids are more expensive to produce than a parallel or even series-parallel (Prius) type design. The reason is that you need a large generator that can handle nearly the capacity of the drive motor(s), so for fuel-hungry heavy vehicles it makes sense because the costs can be justified much easier with fuel savings.


Pro-Pulse was designed initially for heavy-duty military truck platform. It has 450 hp diesel engine mated to 355 kW generator. The power to the wheels is delivered by four independent AC motors to all four axels, without transmission, transfer cases, or driveshaft. For such all-terrain vehicle this kind of hybrid layout is clearly the best. Pilot Pro-Pulse trucks were used to power field hospitals and shelters for Hurricane Katrina refugees.


This is just one step closer to GM's Skateboard fuelcell design. Actually a Ford hydrogen ICE with this would be pretty green or maybe just B100 for this and you have a nice green platfrom with 2007/2010 standards.


The military likes some of these designs because they can be stealthy. Not that a truck would, but a Hummer that can turn off the engine and still move quietly is an asset.


The military is also looking at hybrid technology to help with electricity generation in the field. Basically, when the hybrid vehicle is done with its primary duty (getting the payload to the battlefront); it can be used for a secondary duty (generating electricity at the battlefront). I read in a WSJ article that supplying fuel to generate power for the increasing number of military and civilian electrical devices used by soldiers in the field is passing vehicle use of fuel. Not incidentally, the military is keen on fuel cell technology as well for exactly the same reason as using hybrid systems.


Looking at the bigger illustration and noting the proximity of the ultra capacitors to the diesel motor, I wonder if there is further opportunity for innovation?

Could the heat from the diesel motor be re-used either with a heat exchanger or the use of thermoelectric technology?

Also, with the availability of so much electric current, could some of it go into electrolysis and H2DI (Hydrogen Direct Injection), eh?

Ed Danzer

I drove this truck Thursday, and found it did not like to charge the capacitors if you slowed down gradually, like in rush hour traffic.
There is no know price for this drive train, but exceeds the $25,000.00 that companies can currently justify by quite a bit.
The Eaton hydraulic hybrids had software problems so I could not do a comparison on the two technologies.

Mike Eskew

How would I obtain info on towing/hauling these units when they become inoperable? I have already received a call from the local McNeilus shop to move one by picking up the rear drive wheels. The problem is that it was a loaded refuse truck and this would have required towing backwards on the two front stering tires. This would be unsafe to me because of a 9,900 pound limit on each front tire. Please let me know.

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