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UPS to deliver “hydraulic hybrid” trucks

Parcel delivery company UPS is to start using hydraulic hybrid vehicles that store energy by compressing hydraulic fuel under pressure in a large chamber.

The technology, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, has been in testing for two years and UPS has now ordered seven of the Navistar hydraulic hybrid delivery trucks.

Based on UPS’ road-testing of the technology in Detroit the prototype vehicle achieved 45 to 50 per cent improvement in fuel economy compared to conventional diesel delivery trucks. UPS says similar fuel efficiency and a 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions are achievable in daily, real-world use. The EPA also claims the hydraulic hybrid technology can be used equally well in other forms of transport, including shuttle and transit buses and refuse pick-up trucks.

UPS will deploy the first two of the new hydraulic hybrid vehicles in Minneapolis during the first quarter of 2009.  Eaton, which helped develop and refine the vehicle’s hydraulic hybrid power system, will monitor the fuel economy performance and emissions in the Minneapolis area. The additional five hybrid trucks will be deployed later in 2009 and early 2010.

David Abney, UPS’s chief operating officer, said:

“There is no question that hydraulic hybrids, although little known to the public, are ready for prime time use on the streets of America. We are not declaring hydraulic hybrids a panacea for our energy woes, but this technology certainly is as promising as anything we’ve seen to date.”

The technology works by combining a high-efficiency diesel engine with a hydraulic propulsion system, replacing the conventional drivetrain and transmission. The vehicle uses hydraulic pumps and storage tanks to capture and store energy. The diesel engine is used to periodically recharge pressure in the hydraulic propulsion system.

1 Comment

  • alohanema
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 11:10 am

    We have all heard all the talk about the fuel economy and innovations of Hybrid Cars and how they are sweeping the nation. Last year in 2004 in fact over 88,000 Hybrids were sold and waiting lists are still climbing. Honda, Toyota and Ford cannot build them fast enough. Things are changing indeed. Although still a drop in the bucket considering the average 17 million cars sold each year in the United States we can see a hyperbolic trend forming as oil prices stay high. Also with China and India entering the global game for demand for oil we will see the price per barrel to continue to remain high even if OPEC decides to stay on the same team, which built their industry there.

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