“There are a lot of ways to move a vehicle down the street”.
That’s what John Kargul, Director of Technology Transfer at the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told me in Atlanta earlier this week. We were discussing the various concepts in alternative fuel vehicles and propulsion systems that are little known yet still hold great promise in meeting our transportation and energy challenges.
Until Monday, the Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicle (HHV) was one of those little-known concepts promising significant potential for increased fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions.
After two years of road testing done in a “real world laboratory”, working UPS routes on the streets of Detroit, that potential has proven itself ready for the marketplace, and UPS has stepped up to the plate as the first corporate buyer of HHV technology. The company has purchased seven HHV trucks to be deployed throughout 2009 and early 2010, starting in the first quarter of ‘09 with two HHV trucks plying the streets of Minneapolis.
Increased efficiency and reduced emissions
When testing the HHV on delivery routes, UPS reported a nominal 45–50% increase in fuel efficiency over a standard diesel UPS delivery truck, with a 33% reduction in CO2 emissions (the EPA has results as high as 60% increase in fuel efficiency). Using the hydraulic hybrid system in series with a small, highly efficient diesel engine, the HHV is particularly suited for the short-haul start/stop urban duty cycle of a city-bound UPS truck (UPS would prefer I call their delivery trucks “package cars”, but for clarity, I’ll stick to “truck”).
One piece of the puzzle
HHV technology is not intended as a be-all, end-all solution. Speaking at the press conference in Atlanta this past Monday, UPS Chief Operating Officer David Abney 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.”
With the largest fleet of alternative fuel vehicles in the industry, UPS looks to HHV as one more piece of the puzzle toward creating a total picture of sustainability, efficiency, and reduced emissions throughout their global operation.Click to continue reading »