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Daimler Trucks North America and Walmart develop hybrid-electric Class 8 Cascadia; enter long-term advanced engineering partnership

Cascadia
Hybrid electric Cascadia. Click to enlarge.

Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA) and Walmart have collaborated to build the first hybrid electric Freightliner Cascadia. This truck also marks the beginning of a long-term strategic partnership between DTNA and Walmart to develop innovative, green technologies.

Developed based on a Walmart spec’d truck, the 72-inch raised-roof Detroit Diesel DD15-equipped Cascadia features a parallel hybrid system based on an electrically-driven second drive axle. The system uses an advanced lithium-ion-based energy storage and advanced electronic control algorithms that were developed in collaboration with the Daimler Trucks Global Hybrid Center in Japan.

With this hybrid system, the conventional drivetrain remains completely intact, allowing for high system reliability from the very beginning. In addition, initial assessments of fuel efficiency further indicate the potential of this technology.

Long-time customer Walmart will work closely with DTNA engineers to create new products that will ultimately serve as a roadmap to future innovations. Walmart has explored other Class 8 hybrid options. (Earlier post.)

The new advanced engineering partnership with Walmart highlights our commitment to green technologies as well as our desire to work closely with core customers to continue developing alternative fuel vehicles. We look forward to seeing what else this joint venture will result in, and to providing Walmart and all of our customers with the right tools that will positively impact their bottom line.

—Mark Lampert, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Daimler Trucks North America

DTNA already offers products powered by alternative technologies, including the Freightliner Business Class M2 106 Hybrid (earlier post), and the Freightliner Business Class M2 112 natural gas lineup.

Comments

kelly

Details.. cost, % mpg improvement(if any), wattage, ..

ejj

The good news is this appears to be happening WITHOUT government handouts.

TM

Would be nice to see what the MPG increase goal or actual is. Looks more like a PR release to make both companies look like they are green.

Kory Lundberg

Some really good questions here. I'm Kory Lundberg, senior manager for sustainability communications at Walmart. On this new hybrid truck, we expect a 5 to 7% gain in fuel economy with this technology.
At Walmart, we think electrification will be a big part of our fleet in the future - in fact, we are now testing three different hybrid technologies in our fleet. Thanks for the questions and let me know if you have anymore - kory.lundberg@wal-mart.com.

ejj

I think from a business standpoint, reducing diesel fuel costs is a no-brainer. How utterly ridiculous to spend such vast amounts of money on diesel fuel year after year. Personally, I hope Wal-Mart succeeds because there is little doubt that they will pass on savings to the consumer. Wal-Mart is truly one of America's greatest corporations.

Mikep

Kory, will this hybrid also be biodiesel compatible? Seems the logical way to go to reduce petro-diesel usage. Cummins powertrain can handle any blend of biodiesel, and my Freightliner has been running on B-99 since the beginning of summer with no problems.

ai_vin

While it's great that Wal-Mart is reducing the fuel use in its trucking fleet we have to remember it's only part of the supply chain. What about the ships that bring their stock over from China? Kory; have you looked into "wind assist" to reduce fuel use there?
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/03/beluga-skysails-cargo-ship-kites.php

Or failing that how-about buying American and keeping the manufacturing jobs closer to home?

ai_vin

More info;
http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/ocean-kites-top-10-green-ship-designs?1034

ejj

ai_vin: If Wal-Mart owned the ships or the shipping companies sending raw materials overseas & bringing finished goods back, they would no doubt be looking into more efficient ships...but I don't think they have any ownership in these companies.

JerseyGeoff

EJJ, actually Walmart did try to take a role in shipping 3 -4 years ago reportedly with financial support or at least a very heavy commitment of support for a new start up container line with all chartered ships- they did not repeat the experiment, I guess because they found container shipping was not quite so easy as they thought.

Kory Lundberg

Sorry for the delay in getting back. The new hybrid uses a standard diesel engine. Walmart is testing a number of bio-fuel trucks, including some that run on the waste grease from Walmart's delis (http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/02/wal-mart-testin.html).
As for the shipping question, we are always looking for ways to use less fossil fuels throughout the supply chain. We have talked about this idea with some of our shipping suppliers. Although it’s not something we currently utilize, we will continue to talk through a number of variables with our shippers, including ship size and wind patterns, to see if this is a technology that can help us reduce our environmental footprint.

SJC

The U.S. will require big rigs to use less oil in coming years and this is one way to do that. Make them hybrid and run on CNG/DME and oil consumption will go way down.

ai_vin

Oil consumption will also go way down if we move most interstate freight from diesel trucks to electrified rail. Even at the end points, in the cities, freight can be moved by electrified rail - as is already done in Dresden; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CarGoTram
and Zürich (Switzerland); http://www.proaktiva.ch/tram/zurich/cargotram_index.html

and tested elsewhere; http://www.eltis.org/study_sheet.phtml?study_id=1547

SJC

I look at change versus probability of actually happening. The more we have to change the less likely it is of actually happening.

If we can modify large truck tractors to run on DME/Diesel then it might actually happen. If we have to retrofit most of our rail system to electric, that is LESS likely to happen, due to capital constraints and return on investment.

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