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A123 to Power Plug-in Hybrid Trouble Truck for Eaton Corporation

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.



This is a rather heavy vehicle to move. The on-board genset will be running most of (if not all) the time unless it carries 200+ Kwh of batteries.

Dave R

It only makes sense for utilities to use their own power as much as possible to power their operations as they may be able to buy the power at a discounted rate.

I imagine that gas/diesel costs are a substantial operating cost and that electrifying their fleet will result in substantial savings in the long run as well which should also end up lowering electricity costs for the consumer in the long run.

Henry Gibson

Modern electronic technolgy allows the use of a small electronic converters to tap into neighborhood power lines of almost any voltage. Eventually all power lines should be direct current buried cables. New planned developments should be required to operate with direct current cables and inverters at every house. The cost of inverters at every house is a small part of the cost of the house and save on costs of poles and cables, but more importantly saves energy that is lost by buried Alternating Current cables. Such a system is more reliable because there is much less wind damage and brief interruptions are masked by the energy stored by the cables themselves. Additional batteries can be placed at every inverter or even at any spot on the cable system. ..HG..


A vehicle which uses 1 kWh/mile will only need 20 kWh of storage to run 10 miles at 50% DoD.  This is a Volt-class battery.  The fuel savings from a smaller engine and elimination of idling will pay for the powertrain a lot faster than the average commute will.

Running hydraulic pumps on demand for a few hours isn't going to need much energy.  10 kWh should be more than enough for a bucket truck, with plenty left over for power tools like pneumatic crimpers.

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