It is a case of mutual interests combining resources and expertise, says Matt Gilliland, fleet services manager at Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). “In 2006 to 2007, when Chevrolet was researching and developing the technology it would eventually use in the Chevrolet Volt,” he explained, “the OEM wanted to partner with utility fleets to deploy vehicles and evaluate their performance and function in actual operations.”
The result was an extensive program managed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the nonprofit center for electricity and environmental research, that put demonstration Volt models on the road at 64 U.S. and Canadian utilities. For the three-year demonstration project, which officially began in 2011, NPPD is operating one of those vehicles.
NPPD supplies power in 91 of 93 Nebraska counties to communities as well as rural public power districts and electric cooperatives. Supporting its generation, transmission and distribution businesses is a fleet of 1,150 pieces of equipment ranging in size from ATVs to 140-ton cranes. Included are SUVs, pickups and vans, and a range of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
The collaborative effort between EPRI, General Motors and NPPD is evaluating a 2011 Chevy Volt. The demonstration project will work to ensure safe and convenient electric vehicle charging, raise public awareness and understanding of plug-in electric vehicles, assist electric utilities in determining the support for charging vehicles and help public policy leaders better understand how electricity can be used as a vehicle fuel source. The program is made possible in part by a $30.5 million grant administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Recovery Act Transportation Electrification Initiative.
Equipped with a 120-kW electric motor that is equivalent to a 150-HP engine, the electric-powered, extended-range vehicle can travel approximately 35 miles on a full charge. After the battery is depleted, the onboard 80-HP gasoline engine and generator can power the Volt for an additional 372 miles for a total cruising range of 407 miles.
Working its way across Nebraska as a fleet vehicle, the Volt at NPPD is being used at 42 company locations in a variety of environments and under differing weather conditions. Data on the vehicle being supplied to EPRI will be included in aggregate results from all 64 utilities taking part in the project. In addition to performance information from onboard data capture devices, the utilities are helping determine charging and circuit-loading patterns and electric charging infrastructure readiness.
Behind NPPD’s participation in the demonstration project is the utility’s Domestic Energy Research and Application Initiative, which has funds for developing technologies related to environmental issues. “We’ve funded programs for energy research with the University of Nebraska, wind monitoring and carbon capture,” Gilliland noted, “so it made sense to leverage our resources to look into advanced vehicle technology as well. One of the benefits of this program was that by getting involved, we had access to some of the first Volts to come off the production line.
“One of the biggest benefits of the demonstration project,” Gilliland continued, “was that we formed a strong industry partnership where information flowed both ways. That will help us determine if this technology is right for our operation and our customers at the right cost.”
As for the Chevy Volt, Gilliland says it has done everything it was supposed to do. “It’s a great platform,” he stated. “This is one of the biggest advances in automotive technology in many years.”
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved the Terex HyPower hybrid system for use in any power takeoff-equipped diesel-powered truck application with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds. This means the HyPower hybrid system meets the strict emissions requirements for anti-idling in the state of California, which many other states have adopted for fleets that are bidding on projects or requesting project funding.
CARB’s approval of the Terex HyPower hybrid system allows contractors and fleets to purchase new trucks with the system or retrofit older trucks. The Terex HyPower hybrid system enables job site operations without requiring the engine to be running, reducing harmful exhaust emissions and noise and lowering fuel use. According to Terex, the system can save up to 1,500 gallons of fuel per year based on 7,000 miles per year and 1,250 job site hours per year.
Visit www.terexhypower.com for more.
CARB has approved the Altec Jobsite Energy Management System (JEMS) when used in any power takeoff (PTO), diesel-fueled truck application with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds. Altec JEMS is a product of Altec’s Green Fleet, designed to eliminate engine idle time at the job site and reduce fuel consumption, noise and emissions. JEMS is an integrated plug-in system powered by application-specific battery packs. The system provides power for aerial devices, truck cab heating and air conditioning, and export power for hand tools and other electrical accessories.
Visit www.altec.com/green-fleet.php for more.
Eaton Corporation has published a fact sheet on hybrid electric power systems for commercial trucks to help fleets determine whether the technology is the correct platform for their operations. The document covers applications, job site operation time, stop densities, vehicle speeds, driving techniques, warranty information and more. It also lists key specification information. More than 5,500 Eaton hybrid systems are in use today on utility vehicles and other commercial applications, and have collectively accumulated more than 200 million miles of service.
Visit www.roadranger.com for more.
Odyne Systems LLC has completed five plug-in hybrid vehicles funded by a U.S. Department of Energy development project and has delivered the vehicles to customers of DUECO Inc., the final stage truck manufacturer. Companies receiving the new technology include:
• Choptank Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, which took delivery of a plug-in hybrid bucket truck with a Terex HR42M aerial device to be used in maintenance of electric lines;
• Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, which took delivery of a plug-in hybrid utility truck with a Terex 5FC55 aerial device;
• NiSource, which took delivery of a plug-in hybrid bucket truck with a Terex TL41 aerial device for use in maintenance and construction of its electrical grid;
• NV Energy, which took delivery of an underground utility vehicle featuring a Vanair underdeck compressor for maintenance of an underground natural gas infrastructure; and
• Pepco Holdings Inc., which took delivery of a plug-in hybrid underground utility vehicle with a Vanair underdeck compressor for underground gas infrastructure maintenance.
Odyne has also delivered seven trucks featuring its plug-in hybrid propulsion system to utilities and municipalities throughout Wisconsin. Communities and utilities receiving the new technology were partially funded under the Wisconsin Clean Transportation Program jointly administered through the Wisconsin State Energy Office and the U.S. Department of Energy Wisconsin Clean Cities Program. The new units are anticipated to deliver 50 percent better fuel efficiency than a conventional truck annually, depending upon use.
Receiving vehicles with the Odyne hybrid systems is Milwaukee County, which took delivery of four work trucks that will be used to maintain traffic signals and street lighting. The vehicles feature the first Odyne hybrid systems installed on Kenworth truck chassis and are the first to power Venturo corner mount cranes. The trucks also have fiberglass bodies and Terex TL60 aerials.
Marshfield Utilities, serving the city of Marshfield, Wis., took delivery of a Navistar truck fitted with the Odyne system and a Terex HRX55 boom for use in construction and maintenance of the Marshfield utility grid. The Richland Center and Lake Mills units of Wisconsin Public Power Inc. will also be putting new Navistar chassis with Terex TCX60 booms and the Odyne hybrid system in service for the construction and maintenance of utility grids.
Odyne’s proprietary hybrid technology combines electric power conversion, power control and energy storage technology with Remy electric propulsion motors, modular Johnson Controls lithium-ion battery systems and other automotive components.
Visit www.odyne.com for more.
The BAE Systems HybriDrive parallel system for Class 6, 7 and 8 vocational trucks is a scalable design that can be modified for a range of truck platforms, vocations and duty cycles. HybriDrive parallel is based on a motor/generator integrated between the engine and the transmission and an energy storage system, coupled with electronic controls. The system’s battery pack and electronics are sealed for under-vehicle environments.
Visit www.baesystems.com for more.
Venchurs Vehicle Systems
Venchurs Vehicle Systems (VVS) is showcasing its new CNG and bi-fuel conversions for Ford F-250/350 trucks. The Venchurs CNG program includes dedicated CNG and bi-fuel systems that allow for seamless switching of the fuel supply and offer a range of up to 650 miles. VVS has built a CNG Search & Rescue Ford F-250 concept truck with its bi-fuel system for pilot program demonstrations by national park rangers. Each CNG conversion will be performed at the Venchurs’ conversion facility in Adrian, Mich.
Visit www.venchursvehicles.com for more.
Freightliner Custom Chassis
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC), a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, has introduced its S2G chassis, a factory-installed liquid propane gas engine available in medium-duty trucks. The front-engine chassis utilizes a Freightliner M2 cab and has a GVWR of 33,000 pounds. Standard specs include an Allison 2300 automatic transmission with PTO provision.
The S2G’s 8-liter, 325-HP engine supplied by Powertrain Integration uses General Motors’ long block and other engine components. FCCC partnered with Powertrain Integration and CleanFUEL USA in the development of the S2G. A limited preproduction run of the S2G chassis is expected in the fourth quarter of 2012, with full production slated for the first quarter of 2013.
Visit www.freightlinerchassis.com for more.
Ram Truck has introduced a factory-built CNG pickup. The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG model is powered by the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and is equipped with both compressed natural gas tanks and an 8-gallon gasoline fuel tank. Canadian customers can opt for a 35-gallon gasoline tank. The CNG tanks provide a gasoline gallon equivalent of 18.2 gallons. If the CNG tanks are emptied, the vehicle will automatically switch to gasoline. CNG-only range is estimated to be 255 miles, while the backup supply of gasoline extends the range to 367 total miles.
The Ram 2500 CNG system uses a Hemi engine that has been modified to run on compressed natural gas as well as gasoline. Redesigned cylinder heads with specifically designed CNG-compatible valves and valve-seat materials allow the engine to burn both fuels. The engine also has a second, CNG-specific fuel rail and set of injectors, and a new powertrain control module that allows the Hemi to operate on either of the two fuel sources. In use the system is automatic. A small amount of gasoline is used during engine startup before the Ram CNG runs exclusively on compressed natural gas.
Visit www.ramtrucks.com for more.
General Motors has announced details of its 2013 bi-fuel Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500HD extended cab pickup trucks. GM bi-fuel pickups are equipped with a CNG-capable Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine that transitions between CNG and gasoline fuel systems. Combined, the systems offer a range of more than 650 miles. The Silverado and Sierra will be available in standard and long box models, with either two- or four-wheel-drive systems.
Visit www.gmfleet.com for more.
Westport Innovations has announced that its Westport LD division’s WiNG Power System is being based on Ford’s new 6.2L hardened engine platform. Ford F-250 and F-350 pickups with the bi-fuel system run on natural gas or gasoline. WiNG Power Systems will be installed at the company’s manufacturing facility adjacent to the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville.
Visit www.westport.com for more.
Motiv Power Systems
Motiv Power Systems has received a California Energy Commission grant of $1.16 million for an assembly line pilot run of four electric truck chassis in partnership with Detroit Chassis. The Motiv Electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS), which provides a 100-mile range, will be demonstrated in shuttle bus applications.
Motiv’s ePCS works with a wide range of batteries and motors. Through its intelligent software control algorithms, Motiv’s ePCS actively manages power flow between all electrical components in the vehicle. It also captures and wirelessly broadcasts data to the Motiv cloud for monitoring and analysis. Factors such as battery charge and vehicle status provide detailed real-time analytics to support fleet operators in preventive maintenance.
Visit www.motivps.com for more.
ALTe Powertrain Technologies has installed its powertrain system in a second line of vehicles, the Ford Econoline E-350 platform. ALTe has already implemented conversions in Ford F-150 trucks. Road tests reveal that the E-350 cutaway chassis prototype can drive approximately 25 miles in an all-electric mode and then deliver nearly 15 mpg in a charge-sustained mode. These performance levels should continue to improve, ALTe noted, as it incorporates production level components and refines engineering algorithms. The company is delivering the E-350 prototype to its first potential fleet customer for evaluation and plans to build more prototypes for customer evaluations throughout the year. The company is targeting a spring 2013 product launch date for the U.S. market.
Visit www.altept.com for more.
Protean Electric is offering Protean Drive, an electric drive in-wheel motor system for existing light-duty vehicles. According to the company, the system can be easily integrated into a broad range of vehicles and can increase fuel economy by more than 30 percent depending on the size of the battery and the driving cycle.
Protean’s solution uses in-wheel motors that can deliver 81 kW (110 HP) and 590 pounds per feet, yet weigh only 68 pounds and are sized to fit within the space of a conventional 18- to 24-inch road wheel. Protean Drive regenerative braking capabilities allow up to 85 percent of the available kinetic energy to be recovered during braking. The system can be used on front-, rear- or four-wheel-drive vehicles that run on gas, diesel or other gaseous fuels such as CNG.
Visit www.proteanelectric.com for more.
VIA Motors has announced it will collaborate with telecom provider Verizon to develop plug-in electric work vehicles using VIA’s proprietary extended-range electric vehicle (eREV) technology. eREV vehicles have up to 40 miles of all-electric range using lithium-ion batteries and the capability to drive unlimited additional miles using VIA’s onboard electric generator or range extender. In independent testing, VIA’s eREV pickup trucks have demonstrated up to 100 miles per gallon in typical fleet driving, according to the company. In addition, Verizon anticipates utilizing the onboard generator and power export option to power work tools or even provide power to its network in an emergency.
Visit www.viamotors.com for more.
Daimler Certifies Complete Vehicle Lineup
Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has certified its complete portfolio of model year 2013 on-highway, vocational and medium-duty vehicles as fully compliant with the new greenhouse gas 2014 (GHG14) regulations. DTNA’s GHG14 compliance has been achieved one full year ahead of the mandate for certification by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s program to reduce heavy- and medium-duty truck greenhouse gas emissions.
Visit www.daimler-trucksnorthamerica.com for more.
Hino Trucks Honored at National Biodiesel Conference
Hino Trucks has been recognized by the National Biodiesel Board with the 2012 Eye on Biodiesel Impact Award. The company was nominated for the award for supporting the use of B20 biodiesel blends and for becoming the first manufacturer to support the use of B20 biodiesel blends in a hybrid-electric truck, as well as in its complete product line of Class 6 and 7 trucks.
All 2011 and later model conventional trucks powered by Hino’s proprietary J-Series engines are approved to use B20 biodiesel blends that contain biofuel blend stock (B100) compliant to ASTM D6751, and blended fuel compliant to ASTM D975. B20 biodiesel meeting these standards is also approved for use in Hino’s newly announced diesel and diesel-electric hybrid cabovers due to enter the market this summer.
Visit www.hino.com for more.