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Lightning Hybrids secures order for 35 hydraulic hybrid systems from Kiessling Transit

Lightning Hybrids, developer and manufacturer of hydraulic hybrid systems for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses (earlier post), announced an agreement with Kiessling Transit to supply 35 hydraulic hybrid systems. The sale marks Lightning Hybrids’ largest order to date. The company’s system demonstrated improvements of 30% in fuel efficiency and significantly reduced NOx emissions during a year-long pilot program with the leading Massachusetts-based transportation company.

Kiessling Transit’s vehicles, featuring new 2015 and 2016 model year Ford E450 chassis and Elkhart Coach bodies, will have the Lightning Hybrids patented parallel hybrid system installed prior to delivery this summer. The technology, which has no electric batteries, applies a hydraulic system to the driveline of a vehicle to regenerate braking energy. Hydraulic pumps and a lightweight accumulator store braking energy and use the stored energy to power the wheels. The application of this technology will result in improved emissions, less fuel use, longer brake life, better low-end torque, and lower maintenance and operational costs.

This partnership with Kiessling Transit is a significant milestone for Lightning Hybrids and a testament to the success and benefits of our system in providing a cost-effective and elegant solution for large fleets. Kiessling Transit is an innovative, early adopter and was one of the first customers to trial our technology for over a year. Their positive experience and attractive results during the pilot program lead to this substantial follow-on order. This program will demonstrate that it’s possible today to make existing fleet vehicles significantly cleaner and more efficient with a high-tech, computer controlled system built on proven and sustainable hydraulic technology.

—Tim Reeser, president and co-founder, Lightning Hybrids

Kiessling Transit purchased a pilot vehicle equipped with the hybrid system through Lightning Hybrids’ Boston-based dealer, National Fleet Hybrids, in 2013. The pilot vehicle’s fuel consumption was closely monitored during the pilot program. The results, logged through Lightning Hybrids’ telematics systems and confirmed through Kiessling’s fuel logs, revealed a significant improvement in fuel economy and emissions.

Driver feedback also confirmed vehicle performance benefits. Kiessling Transit will use the hybrid vehicles to transport primarily urban-area Massachusetts residents with disabilities. The company is based in Norfolk, Massachusetts, and currently contracts with regional transit authorities, state agencies and local municipalities to transport passengers throughout the state.

Lightning Hybrids announced the Kiessling Transit agreement at a press conference during the National Truck Equipment Association’s Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, where a walk-in van equipped with the Lightning Hybrids system participated in the Green Truck Ride-and-Drive.



Maybe non-battery based regenerative systems will get some traction now in the US. I am waiting for the moment of disillusion with battery based transport when all those initial generation battery based systems start degrading drastically.

Brent Jatko

@CJY: What makes you believe that hydraulic systems won't degrade over time as well?

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