MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -A hard-run terminal tractor burns fuel pretty much around the clock, so it was only a matter of time before fuel-saving hybrid technology was applied to the shunt truck industry. Ca...
STAR ATTRACTION: The new Pluggable Hybrid Electric Terminal Tractor (PHETT) from Capacity attracted much attention during its Canadian debut at Glasvan Great Dane.
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -A hard-run terminal tractor burns fuel pretty much around the clock, so it was only a matter of time before fuel-saving hybrid technology was applied to the shunt truck industry. Capacity of Texas showcased its new PHETT (Pluggable Hybrid Electric Terminal Tractor) recently during an open house at Ontario dealer Glasvan Great Dane.
Billed as the industry’s first hybrid terminal truck, the PHETT impressed customers and media as it glided around the yard nearly soundlessly. Gone is the noisy diesel engine that normally powers such trucks and in its place is a 220-horsepowerAC traction motor. A 20-kW on-board gen-set recharges the batteries when power dips below 50% of their charge, however it does not propel the vehicle itself, according to Capacity’s Kevin Hebert. He said the PHETT can typically run for one to three hours between charges and is still operational while the gen-set kicks in to recharge the batteries.
“The only thing you do have (while charging) is a little increase in the decibel level,” he said.
The truck is loaded up with two battery packs containing 52 absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries, which have a life expectancy of at least five years, according to Hebert. The frame has been beefed up to accommodate the extra weight, some of which is recovered from the absence of a heavy diesel engine.
The PHETT operates much the same as a traditional shunt truck, but drivers will appreciate the extra torque and responsiveness you’ll get only from an electric motor.
“This unit has a lot more torque than our diesel product,” explained Hebert. Specifically, the PHETT delivers 1,376 lb.-ft. of torque at the rear wheels whereas a typical diesel-powered Capacity shunt truck delivers only 700-800 lb.-ft., he said.
Inside the cab, the dash layout is no different than what you’ll find inside conventional Capacity terminal tractors. However, a new ‘Fast Fifth Feature’ has been added. It’s a small red button on the top of the shifter that allows the driver to energize the hydraulic motor RPM to raise or lower the fifth wheel at various speeds while the truck is at idle.
Also new is an optional fold-down seat that a trainer can use to tutor new drivers. This nice touch was made possible by the absence of the bulky diesel engine under the cab, Hebert explained.
In addition to the main electric motor, the PHETT features two smaller electric motors. An accessory drive motor powers the hydraulics and steering and another small motor runs a coolant fan.
The 40-horsepower, 20 kW Cummins gen-set will include an optional plug-in outlet so customers can power small equipment and devices in the event of a power loss.
The PHETT comes with a charging station that requires a 220-volt, 50-amp receptacle for charging while not in use. The PHETT is EPA2010-compliant without costly exhaust aftertreatment. However, like anything hybrid, it will be more costly than your conventional shunt truck. Hebert said the PHETT will cost roughly $180,000 -or about 80% more than a traditional terminal tractor today. But even so, the fuel savings of 50-60% will result in a 3.5-year payback even without any government funding, Hebert said.
“Most of that is because of the reduction in fuel usage and then the maintenance costs you have without the standard diesel engine,” he explained. And for environmentally-conscious fleets and shippers, the environmental benefits are also worth considering. According to third-party testing in the US, Hebert says the PHETT provides a 77% reduction in hydrocarbons and NOx and an 85% reduction in particulate matter (PM) compared to today’s typical shunt trucks. That’s to say nothing of the reduction in noise pollution.
To see video of the PHETT, check out the Sept. 10 episode of our WebTV show Transportation Matters on Trucknews.com.