|Location of the lithium-ion battery pack on the DuraStar Hybrid.|
International Truck and Engine Corporation, a Navistar company, has begun line production of hybrid commercial trucks. The International DuraStar Hybrid, a diesel hybrid electric medium-duty truck, provides customers with fuel savings ranging from 30-40% on a standard in-city pickup and delivery applications.
The fuel savings can increase to more than 60% in utility-type applications when the engine can be shut off, but electric power still operates the vehicle. Diesel emissions are completely eliminated when the hybrid truck operates equipment (like overhead utility booms) solely on the truck’s battery power, instead of allowing the engine to idle.
The DuraStar features a MaxxForce DT 225 hp (168 kW), 560 lb-ft (759 Nm) diesel engine mated with an Eaton Hybrid Drive Unit. Eaton began commercial production of the medium duty hybrid drive system in August. (Earlier post.)
The medium-duty hybrid system uses a parallel, pre-transmission design with Eaton’s Fuller UltraShift automated transmission. Primary components are the Hybrid Drive Unit (HDU), which combines a clutch, a 44 kW/420 Nm motor/generator and automatically controlled manual transmission; the motor inverter/controller; the DC/DC converter; and a 340V 2 kWh li-ion battery pack.
In 2006, International built and delivered 24 developmental hybrid units to 14 major utility companies across North America with overwhelmingly positive results.
These units are now successfully operating giving us confidence in the quality and reliability of our new hybrid electric product. As part of this development process, we have teamed with the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF), which is a consortium of utility industry customers, Eaton Corporation, the Federal Government and the Weststart/Calstart organization. This was necessary to assist us with the cost of bringing this new technology to market. It also has given us the direct customer feedback and support that is required to make the program a success. The prototype phase is done—International is now building hybrid trucks.—Jim Williams, Director of Sales & Distribution, New Products, International Truck and Engine
The Hybrid Truck Users Forum estimates that nearly 1,000 gallons of fuel can be saved annually on utility trucks. With almost 100,000 new medium-duty commercial trucks expected to be sold in 2007, even if a portion of those trucks sold are International’s hybrid trucks, the overall fuel savings could be substantial.
The key challenge facing the trucking industry is the high initial cost to bring the hybrid technology to market. As International builds scale, hybrid truck prices are expected to decrease dramatically, similar to price reduction in computer technology and home electronics equipment over the years. Many customers have also been working to secure government funding to help offset the cost of the new technology. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 can provide tax credits of up to $12,000 per unit.
This production announcement comes on the heels of Navistar receiving the 2007 Blue Sky Award from WestStart-CALSTART for its contributions to the commercial development of diesel-hybrid technology.
In addition to production of the International DuraStar diesel hybrid, Navistar’s contributions to advanced diesel-hybrid technology include:
IC Corporation, the nation’s largest school bus and commercial bus manufacturer and a whole-owned affiliate of Navistar, recently announced it is the first and only bus manufacturer to begin production hybrid school buses in partnership with Enova Systems. The buses improve fuel efficiency by 70-100% while reducing emissions by up to 90%.
Scheduled delivery of the nation’s first 19 plug-in hybrid school buses from IC Corporation to 11 states under the efforts of Advanced Energy, a non-profit consortium of school districts, state energy agencies and student transportation providers.
IC Corporation’s announcement in October 2006 that it is launching a new line of diesel-electric hybrid commercial buses that use the Enova system.
Navistar’s partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Army, UPS and Eaton Corporation to develop the first-ever series diesel hydraulic hybrid urban delivery vehicle.