While UPS is one of the companies that will test a hydraulic hybrid vehicle (HHV) from Hybra-Drive sometime next year, it has already done testing with a similar type truck from Eaton. The initial 18-month trial saw upwards of 50 percent less fuel burned and was positive enough for the delivery giant to order up seven of the HHVs. UPS calculates they see could a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions under actual working conditions. The first two trucks will be delivered in early 2009 for the Minneapolis area and will be monitored by Eaton. This addition brings the UPS "Green Fleet" of low-emission vehicles up to 2,129, by their count.

No price was given but we feel it's safe to assume they weren't cheap. UPS did state that if they were manufactured in high volume, the extra expense could be recouped in a three-year period from fuel and maintenance savings. This HHV is said to save fuel by using the hydraulic equivalent of regenerative braking, operating the engine more efficiently and stopping the engine altogether when it is slowing or stopped. When it is running, the high-efficiency diesel powers a pump instead of a transmission and incorporates storage tanks that hold pressurized hydraulic fluid. To see a nice visual representation of what's involved, hit the jump for the official schematic as well as a short bonus clip of a hydraulic hybrid in UPS colors under way.

[Source: UPS]

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