United Parcel Service, Inc., the world’s largest package delivery company and a provider of supply chain management solutions, placed 50 Lightning Hybrids hydraulic hybrid delivery trucks in the Chicago metro area. The hybrid systems were partially funded by Drive Clean Chicago, a program that aims to accelerate the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure in Chicago.
The first of the hydraulic hybrid systems were commissioned last week. The hybrid systems are converting Freightliner MT-55s with gasoline engines into cleaner and more fuel efficient delivery trucks and will reduce harmful emissions in Chicago as soon as they are deployed.
The hybrid systems provide additional torque and reduce engine stress on the vehicles, allowing UPS to use less expensive gasoline engines rather than diesel engines, substantially reducing NOx emissions in the process. UPS anticipates an ROI of one to two years on these vehicles.
UPS first trialed the Lightning Hybrids product with a six-month pilot in 2014 that demonstrated 100% hybrid system uptime and impressed the UPS team with excellent efficiency gains, elegance, and drivability, leading to additional trials, including a trial in the UK, that is currently underway. Fuel efficiency gains ranged from 18 to 34 percent during the pilot.
The system from Lightning Hybrids is a patented, parallel hydraulic hybrid system that has no electric batteries. Instead, it applies a hydraulic system to the vehicle driveline to regenerate braking energy. Hydraulic pumps and a lightweight accumulator brake the vehicle, store the braking energy, and then use that stored energy to provide power to the wheels. In doing so fuel is saved and harmful emissions are cut.
Lightning Hybrids designs and manufactures the hydraulic hybrid ERS (Energy Recovery System) for medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles which provides fuel efficiency by regenerating braking energy, provides safer braking and more power for acceleration, and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
The ERS does not have any batteries, instead safely and efficiently stores energy mechanically in composite hydraulic accumulators, which are a fraction of the cost and weight of batteries. It can be installed on new vehicles as well as retrofitted on vehicles already in service.