With Cleveland’s Great Lakes Science Center’s wind-driven electric-generating turbine spinning in the background, UPS (Atlanta), Eaton Corp. (Cleveland), and the Environmental Protection Agency introduced the world’s first hydraulic hybrid delivery truck as a major win for the environment.
Beauty, in the case of this vehicle, is more than skin deep. In fact, what’s beneath the skin is what attracted politicians, scientists and the news media to view breakthrough technology that will eventually trickle down to other hybrid vehicles.
UPS, which puts more than 91,000 delivery vehicles on the road every day, has a major interest in lowering is fuel consumption, as well as doing what’s best for the environment, said Frank Whalley, vice president UPS north Ohio District.
Craig Arnold, senior vice president, fluid power group for Eaton, said the EPA’s patented hydraulic hybrid diesel technology achieves a 60 percent to 70 percent improvement in fuel economy and more than a 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in initial laboratory testing of a large UPS truck.
UPS is already testing battery and natural gas powered package cars. Whalley said a domestic fleet of these vehicles is still a long way off. Road testing of the new hybrid begins later this year.
Christopher Grundler, chief executive of EPA’s national vehicle and fuel emissions laboratory in Ann Arbor (Michigan) said a delivery vehicle is an excellent application for hybrid technology. “It’s service cycles involve numerous braking events. Hydraulic hybrid technology has significant commercial potential for a wide range of medium-sized vehicles.”
In a full hydraulic hybrid, a hydraulic drivetrain replaces the conventional drivetrain and eliminates the need for a conventional transmission. It increases vehicle fuel economy in three ways: it permits the recovery of energy that is otherwise wasted in vehicle braking, it allows the engine to be operated at a much more efficient modes, and it enables the engine to be shut off during many operating conditions such as when the vehicle is decelerating and stopped at a light.
Eaton Corp.’s Fluid power division played a key role with EPA to develop the innovative integrated rear-drive used in the UPS package delivery car.