Freightliner shows off new medium-duty hybrid concept

Hybrid technology would have a bigger impact on fuel supplies if it was applied to commercial medium-duty vehicles, especially those with a lot of stop-and-go delivery duties. Considering the low fuel economy for these vehicles and high mileage they log, even a 5-10 percent improvement would make a noticable difference in operating costs and fuel used.

Freightliner yesterday pulled the wraps off a proof-of-concept prototype utility truck at the Great American Trucking show in Dallas.

The prototype has a 33,000-pound GVWR. The 230-horsepower diesel engine is mated with a 44-kW, 59-horsepower electric motor for a combined 860 lb-ft of torque. Freightliner says the truck showed "significant" improvements in fuel economy over conventional diesel engines.

One of the best features of the truck is its electric power takeoff (ePTO) ability. The engine can remain off while on a job site with the hydraulics run by batteries. When the charge falls low, the engine starts up automatically. When the batteries are fully recharged, the engine shuts off with no interruption of the work. Less idle time means reduced levels of emissions and noise. Regenerative braking will charge the batteries and also reduce maintenance costs on brake shoes.

Freightliner says its considering the hybrid system for a variety of medium-duty segments, include beverage delivery and school busses.


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