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Members of the Hybrid, Electric and Advanced Truck Users Forum (HTUF) Parcel Delivery Working Group have received hydraulic series hybrid package delivery evaluation vehicles from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC), Morgan Olson and Parker Hannifin. (Earlier post.) FedEx Ground, Purolator, and UPS each purchased an evaluation vehicle with assistance from CALSTART through a grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE).

The vehicle chassis includes a Parker hydraulic hybrid drive system, integrated and assembled by FCCC, with bodies installed by Morgan Olson. Braking energy is recovered and stored in hydraulic accumulators, where it is used to power the truck during acceleration. Parker’s onboard controller incorporates an advanced engine-off strategy to minimize unnecessary run time. As a result, fuel use can be reduced by 40% or better fuel economy based on route profile.

The Parker hybrid drive system installed in these trucks is designed specifically for medium-duty, start-stop applications such as parcel delivery. Advancing upon Parker’s RunWise heavy-duty system presently available for refuse applications (earlier post), this medium-duty version incorporates an infinitely variable transmission in its design.

Power from Parker’s hydraulic pump/motors and accumulators is seamlessly blended with engine power depending on driver demand.

The three package delivery companies will be cooperating with CALSTART and FCCC to gather data on the operation of the vehicles to establish expected fuel economy improvements and reduced brake and engine maintenance costs. Although hydraulic hybrid systems have shown promise over the last few years, commercial deployment of these systems has been limited to Class 8 refuse trucks. This evaluation will assess an efficient hydraulic hybrid system for the lighter, Class 6 vehicle applications. Successful demonstration could pave the way for additional purchases of hydraulic hybrid vehicles throughout the trucking industry.

The UPS vehicle is on display at Fortune Brainstorm Green in Laguna Niguel, California.

HTUF is a national, multi-year, user-driven program to speed the commercialization of medium- and heavy-duty hybrid, electric and high-efficiency technologies. It is operated by CALSTART in partnership with the US Army’s National Automotive Center (NAC), with project support from the Hewlett Foundation and the US Department of Energy.

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