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BAE Systems and Caterpillar sign 20-year agreement to integrate Cat CX transmissions into HybriDrive parallel heavy-duty hybrid system

BAE Systems and Caterpillar Inc. have signed a long-term supply agreement to collaborate on a parallel hybrid propulsion system for heavy-duty trucks. Under the 20-year agreement, BAE Systems will integrate the Cat CX family of transmissions into its HybriDrive parallel propulsion system (earlier post), and will establish an aftermarket field services model leveraging Caterpillar’s global service network to support the growing installed base.

In March 2011, the two companies had signed a joint development agreement to collaborate on a parallel hybrid propulsion system for heavy-duty trucks that integrated Caterpillar CX Series Transmissions into the HybriDrive system. (Earlier post.)

The parallel system—the latest member of BAE Systems’ HybriDrive family—complements and draws upon the company’s proven HybriDrive series system, currently deployed in more than 3,800 transit buses across the globe. The system is designed for heavy-duty truck applications that include refuse collection, construction, pick-up and delivery, and utility vehicles. (Earlier post.)

While the series system does not use a transmission, the HybriDrive parallel system is based on a single electric machine integrated between the engine and the transmission. The system can be installed with minimal impact to the vehicle, and enhances propulsion through an optimized blending of internal combustion engine power and electric power.

The long-term supply agreement helps to ensure a consistent supply of transmissions from Caterpillar; long-term production pricing schedule; a warranty agreement; and a field service support model designed to make use of Caterpillar’s well-established global network.

The HybriDrive parallel system will integrate with “big-bore” and heavy-duty diesel engines. The system is suitable for vehicles from 19,500 to 80,000 lb (8,845 to 36,387 kg) total gross vehicle weight. The parallel system will deliver significant environmental benefits by lowering emissions, reducing fuel consumption and lowering noise pollution in the field.

Recent field tests in spring 2011 revealed that trucks powered by the HybriDrive parallel system experienced an average fuel economy improvement of 30% when compared to diesel engine trucks. While the fuel ratings were experienced across a range of standard driving cycles, the system performed best on stop-and-go cycles where average speed is between five and 20 mph (32 km/h), making it an optimal choice for refuse collection and delivery trucks. Based on duty cycles and fuel usage, a truck fleet owner who uses the HybriDrive parallel system can expect payback within three to five years.

The HybriDrive parallel system is in final stages of development and is expected to be deployed in markets around the world early in 2013.

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