Hybrid Trucks

Hybrid Trucks

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Eaton has made a series of upgrades to its hybrid power systems for trucks. Among the most significant modifications there is a more performant battery, a higher capacity clutch and a new single phase 115 volt AC auxiliary Power Generator (APG).

Thanks to the new lithium-ion battery the fuel efficiency of the system was increased with up to 10 %. Moreover, the new battery more than doubles the engine-off capability of the system and extends battery life.

Kevin Beaty, product strategy and manufacturing operations and strategic sourcing manager, hybrid power systems for Eaton said, “Not only will fleets realize greater fuel efficiency and reduced C02 emissions, but drivers will notice faster acceleration with the updated hybrid propulsion system. The new battery is designed to allow for simplified servicing of internal components.”

The new APG is smaller and 25 lbs lighter than the previous model, so it will be easier to install. Talking about the new APG, Gerard DeVito, engineering director said, “The new APG unit offers a soft-start function that can handle high inrush loads that require an immediate boost of power. 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.”

The high-capacity battery and APG will be available from the fourth quarter of this year for serve utility applications and the new battery will be also introduced for beverage tractor applications in the third quarter of 2012.

Besides the aforementioned upgrades, the company also offers more performant clutches that can deal with engines up to 860 lb-ft of torque and 300 HP.

The company has announced that it will start to offer remanufactured batteries in July which will be significantly cheaper than the new ones.
Beaty declared, “Fleets can now extend the life of their hybrid power system for a fraction of the cost of new service units. Our goal is to provide the greatest possible value to hybrid customers who want more sustainable fleets at the best possible cost.”

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The trucking industry is continuously searching for new ways to improve the costs of commercial transport and to maximize the productivity.

Siemens wants to redefine the way of commercial transportation and has introduced a futuristic and innovative concept named the “eHighway of the future”. The new idea was presented at the 26th Annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles.

Shortly, this concept’s purpose is to electrify the trucks by using overhead electrified wires for highways, which are similar with those used by today’s city trolleys.

Siemens’s CEO, Daryls Dulaney declared that after they made a detailed research, they think that the idea could be put in practice pretty easy using the existing highways and infrastructures.

To put in practice this concept, the company designed a hybrid diesel electric technology which helps the trucks to run on both fuel and electric power. When the truck detects overhead lines it can automatically attach to them and run on electrical power.

Talking about the new concept Dulaney said: “When most people think of vehicle emissions, they assume cars do most of the damage, but it’s actually commercial trucks that are largely to blame. Freight transportation on U.S. roadways is expected to double by 2050, while global oil resources continue to deplete. And by 2030, carbon dioxide emissions are forecasted to jump 30% due to freight transport alone.”

At the moment, Siemens tests the concept in Germany and there are also plans to bring the project in US with the first locations being the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Dulaney added: “It’s really about creating a more sustainable environment. Already more and more consumers are driving electric and hybrid vehicles. If we can get the commercial freight industry to come on board, we’ll decrease emissions dramatically and improve sustainability.”

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Recently, Volvo said that its Mean Green hybrid truck will attempt to break its own world speed record achieved in 2011. The company has announced that it had succeeded in its attempt and the new world speed record was achieved on April 27 at the Wendover Airfield.

Boije Ovebrink, Mean Green driver and owner said “We are very pleased with Mean Green’s performance, especially at such a high altitude. We knew Wendover would present challenges because it’s more than 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) above sea level. To compensate for the thinner air and help prevent overheating, we reduced the truck’s power by nearly 20 percent. Even with the reduction in total output potential, Mean Green had ample power to surpass the previous records.”

The previous world record was 218.780 km/h for the flying kilometer and 152.253 km/h in the standing kilometer. The new record speeds are 236.577 km/h for the Flying Kilometer and 153.252 km/h for the Standing Kilometer.

The Mean Green uses Volvo’s VN Day cab, but in order to achieve these performances the truck received a host of exterior modifications which were designed to keep the drag coefficient to as low as possible. Under the hood, the Volvo Mean Green is equipped with the D16 engine which is mated on a modified version of Volvo’s automated I-Shift gearbox, which interacts with the hybrid’s electric motor.

Volvo said that “the combination of an electric motor and Volvo D16 diesel engine delivers 2,100 horsepower and nearly 5,000 lb-ft. torque – of which, 200 horsepower and 885 lb-ft. of torque come from the electric motor”.

Ron Huibers, Volvo Trucks president, North American Sales & Marketing said “Mean Green’s incredible performance underscores the strong potential of hybrid drivelines when applied to the right operation. Neither hybrid or any other alternative fuel technology, like natural gas, is a one-size-fits-all solution, but the technology is available for appropriate applications. While diesel remains the most efficient transportation fuel currently available, we know the future of petroleum is limited. The Volvo Group continues to test and evaluate the merits of a number of alternatives.”


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The Peterbilt 320 features a cab over engine configuration and was designed for the refuse and vocational industries. Thanks to its wide range of engines and axle configurations the model is one of the most versatile trucks produced by the American manufacturer. Besides the typical diesel engines, the Peterbilt 320 is also available with a hybrid technology which offers significantly lower fuel consumption without sacrificing the payload capacity. Optional frame liners are also offered for heavier missions, while a power take off system is available for both front mounted and transmission driven configurations.

The Peterbilt 320 is priced around $130.000 and its latest upgrades were made in 2012 when it received new steering gears, a lightweight battery box, ergonomic seats and innovative tri plane mirrors.

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At Mid-America Trucking Show Volvo presented the innovative ‘Mean Green’ which is the world’s fastest hybrid truck ever built. On April 27th will attempt to break it last year record and to reach a top speed of 260 km/h (165 mph) at Wendover Airfield in Utah, USA. Last year the Volvo Mean Green was driven by Boije Ovebrink and managed to set the world’s speed record in the standing 500 metre, standing kilometre and flying kilometre.

The Volvo Mean Green uses a modified aerodynamic VN cab and develops a massive 2,100 horsepower and nearly 5,000 lb-ft (6779 Nm) of torque – of which 200 horsepower and 885 lb-ft (1200 Nm) of torque come from the electric motor.

“Technology and innovation are at the core of our business,” said Ron Huibers, president, Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing. “’Mean Green’ is a prime example of Volvo’s technical capabilities and our continued focus on emerging technologies. Our engineers developed the world’s fastest hybrid truck utilising the same Volvo hybrid drive system powering hundreds of Volvo buses throughout the world - including London’s double-decker buses.”

Volvo’s team of hybrid technology experts adapted Volvo’s hybrid driveline to the chassis requirements of a world-class truck built for speed. Engineers then outfitted ‘Mean Green’ with a highly-tuned Volvo D16 engine and a modified version of Volvo’s automated I-Shift gearbox, which interacts with the hybrid’s electric motor.

“The result is a lightning-speed boost from start-off without any of the customary diesel-engine delay,” said Boije Ovebrink, ‘Mean Green’s owner and driver. “It’s like a champagne cork, but without the sound effects. For the first couple of seconds the truck just makes a slight whistle until the diesel engine, which runs on renewable liquid rosin diesel, starts delivering with an explosive force.”


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