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Eaton enhances commercial vehicle hybrid electric system to improve fuel efficiency, performance and system payback

Eaton Corporation has introduced a number of enhancements to increase the fuel economy, performance and payback of its hybrid electric power system for commercial vehicles (earlier post) including a new high-capacity battery; a new single-phase 115-volt AC Auxiliary Power Generator (APG); a higher capacity clutch to expand applications up to 860 lb-ft (1,093 N·m) of torque; and a new remanufactured battery for aftermarket purchase.

Eaton hybrid electric power systems employ parallel-type diesel-electric hybrid architecture that incorporates a 44 kW peak / 26 kW continuous electric motor/generator between the output of an automated clutch and input of the transmission. (The company also offers hydraulic launch assist systems. (Earlier post.)

The system recovers energy normally lost during braking and stores the energy in a 340 VDC Li-ion battery pack. When electric torque is blended with engine torque, the stored energy is used to improve fuel economy and vehicle performance and is suited for stop-and-go applications.

In 2010, Eaton selected Compact Power Inc. (CPI), a wholly-owned US subsidiary of LG Chem, to provide batteries for future Eaton hybrid electric drive systems. (Earlier post.)

Central to the high-capacity lithium-ion battery is new technology that employs the latest battery cell architecture. The new design increases the fuel savings of Eaton’s hybrid power system an additional 5 to 10% while also improving vehicle performance. In addition, the new battery more than doubles the engine-off capability of the system for job-site operations and extends battery life.

Eaton is also introducing a new single-phase 5 kW Auxiliary Power Generator (APG) this fall. The APG option converts high-voltage DC current from the battery to 115-volt AC current that can be used by any number of tools on the job site. The APG unit is more compact and 25 pounds (11.3 kg) lighter than Eaton’s previous offering, which increases flexibility of installation.

The new APG unit offers a soft-start function that can handle high inrush loads that require an immediate boost of power, notes Gerard DeVito, engineering director, Eaton hybrid power systems. The APG is also a fully isolated system from the high-voltage battery, which eliminates the need for a separate isolating transformer to further reduce cost and weight.

Both the new high capacity battery and APG will be rolled out during the fourth quarter of this year to serve utility applications. The high capacity battery will be available for city delivery and beverage tractor applications in the third quarter of 2012.

In addition to the new battery and APG, Eaton is now offering higher capacity clutches that can handle engines up to 860 lb-ft of torque and 300 hp (224 kW). This increased torque capacity results in greater vehicle performance for heavier applications, including select tandem axle configurations.

Lastly, Eaton will begin offering a remanufactured battery in July that will provide fleets with an aftermarket battery option at an affordable cost.

Eaton hybrid power systems have collectively accumulated more than 300 million miles of service, reducing fuel consumption by more than 8 million gallons of diesel fuel. More than 6,000 of Eaton’s hybrid systems are in use today on city buses, school buses, package delivery trucks, beverage delivery trucks, refrigerated delivery trucks, refuse and recycling trucks, utility vehicles and other commercial applications.



A lot remains to be done to drastically reduce the fuel consumption of the 10 + M large trucks on our highways.

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