Eaton Corporation has selected A123 Systems to supply battery systems for production of a hybrid power system to be installed on a Ford F550-based Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). (Earlier post.)
The program is partially funded by a $45-million grant in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the US Department of Energy. It is managed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) under the lead of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SC-AQMD) and is aimed to develop a production-ready plug-in hybrid power train system suitable for widespread utility use in light/medium duty service vehicles.
These light/medium duty service vehicles, called trouble trucks, are used by utilities to inspect, repair and maintain their transmission and distribution lines. In addition to being driven thousands of miles per year, these trucks are often left idling in residential neighborhoods to power the truck’s equipment, thereby exposing operators to diesel exhaust, wasting fuel and emitting pollution. In contrast, the Eaton-powered PHEV trouble truck is intended to offer zero-emissions operation depending on how far the vehicle travels as well as lower operating costs.
A123 Systems has been developing the battery system for much of 2010 with Eaton. The battery pack is expected to give the PHEV trouble truck a 10-mile range in EV mode or five to six hours of engine-off operation at the work-site. Eaton’s integrated charging system also charges the battery in less than 6 hours. The vehicle is expected to have a fuel savings of up to 63%, depending on drive cycle and the use of its HVAC system.