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Lightning Hybrids introducing hydraulic hybrid system on walk-in box truck

Morgan Olson walk-in van with Lightning Hybrids hydraulic drive system installed for AmeriPride. Click to enlarge.

Lightning Hybrids, developer and manufacturer of hydraulic hybrid systems for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses (earlier post), will introduce the application of its first emission-reducing brake regeneration technology on a walk-in box truck. The debut will take place during the South Shore Clean Cities annual meeting in Merrillville, Indiana, on 17 February.

Lightning Hybrids’ hydraulic hybrid system on the vehicle, featuring a Ford F59 chassis and Morgan Olson Route Star walk-in van body, enhances fuel efficiency while significantly reducing emissions.

To achieve reduced emissions and fuel economy gains, Lightning Hybrids applies a hydraulic system to the driveline of a vehicle to regenerate braking energy, which is stored and used for the next acceleration. The system, which does not have electric batteries, uses this otherwise wasted energy for acceleration, supplementing power from the internal combustion engine to reduce fuel costs for fleet owners and greatly cut emissions.

Components of Lightning Hybrids system. Click to enlarge.

The company’s system decreases NOx emissions by up to 90% and enhances fuel efficiency by up to 30%. Additionally, the hybrid system significantly lengthens brake life and the increased low-end torque improves acceleration.

Lightning Hybrids system installed on the walk-in delivery truck. Click to enlarge.

As fleet owners continue to seek cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles such as hybrids, incentive programs are playing a vital role in supporting this transition. Lightning Hybrids’ system installed on the Ford F59 is eligible for Drive Clean Chicago’s “Drive Clean Truck” voucher program, which provides incentives to help shift diesel fleets in the Chicago area to zero- and low-emission vehicles.

Through the voucher program, fleet owners that operate Class 2 to Class 8 trucks can apply for vouchers for $30,000 and up, or 80% of the incremental cost, to retrofit existing fleets. Additional states that offer grants and funding for Lightning Hybrids’ systems include Colorado, Maryland and Massachusetts, among others.

One business that recently integrated a Ford F59 into its fleet is AmeriPride Services Inc., a leading North American uniform and linen supply company. This is the first hydraulic hybrid in the organization’s fleet of approximately 1,900 vehicles. Lightning Hybrids partnered with Morgan Olson, an industry leader in customizing walk-in vans, to incorporate its hybrid system into the Ford F59 chassis.

In addition to the South Shore Clean Cities event, the company will showcase the Ford F59 hybrid at the upcoming National Truck Equipment Association’s annual Work Truck Show in Indianapolis from 4-6 March.



I very glad to see an up fitter retrofitting such a wide variety of vehicles... makes excited for the future.

Hopefully they can make stuff for on the line for OEMs so we don't have go aftermarket.

Hopefully companies can get a decent hybrid(hydraulic or otherwise) into 1500 trucks or larger... if they do, that is a lot of low hanging fruit with emissions.

I never understood the compulsion of making a 45mpg car 65mpg or 100mpge. A car that may only be utilized 8,000-15,000 miles a year really doesn't show that much gain in the long run. A truck that ranges anywhere from 5mpg to 22mpg, would benefit so much more than that same car for going to a hybrid/electric. Especially when you consider towing with all of its added strain on brakes and demand for power.

This small hybrid seen here does 20-40% that is very significant. Hopefully the price isn't too high, and the pay back is quick.

Most companies if you look to UPS and others like it driving around in trucks usually keep a fleet running for a very long time. This could be a windfall for them, less maint, and more economy, basically giving life to an aging fleet.

Nick Lyons

Agree, local/regional delivery/pick up fleets are the low-hanging fruit for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. Garbage trucks, which already have extensive hydraulic systems are a natural for conversion to hydraulic hybrids.


Think of the next postal carrier vehicle... If the next mail truck is not a hybrid of some fashion I will be at a total loss. GM built the last one, and I think after 20 years they are finally moving on to the next iteration.

Hopefully they implement a plug in hybrid, right hand drive, mini step van type truck/or cargo van.

Fuel costs would plummet, hopefully faster than the cost of the infrastructure to integrate the chargers...

USPS should make the move now while fuel costs are so low and they can afford to purchase these new trucks... Fuel costs are a huge expense for any delivery company, now would be the time for them to update if any.

If they move to PHEVs now, they can later switch to BEVs without any hesitation *assuming they buy the right chargers.

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