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Freightliner introduces hybrid utility truck prototype at GATS

DALLAS, Texas -- Freightliner president and CEO Chris Patterson recently introduced a proof-of-concept prototype ut...

DALLAS, Texas — Freightliner president and CEO Chris Patterson recently introduced a proof-of-concept prototype utility truck and discussed the company’s plans to bring medium-duty hybrid vehicles to the market at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas.

The Class 7 Business Class M2 106 prototype is a full-parallel hybrid, similar to hybrid electric cars, with regenerative braking designed to recharge the batteries and electric launch functionality. It has an integrated electric motor in line with the engine and transmission, enabling operation with electric or diesel power, either separately or in combination. The truck launches with electric power and the diesel engine provides additional torque as required, the company said.

The prototype is a Business Class M2 106 model with a 33,000-lb. GVWR chassis powered by a 230-hp MBE 900 engine that offers 660-lb. ft. of torque. By incorporating a 44-kilowatt, 59-hp electric motor, the engine can achieve 290 hp and 860 lb. ft. torque when the electric and diesel motors are paired, the company said. According to Freightliner officials, simulations and testing have shown significant fuel economy improvements over conventional diesel engines and promises to greatly reduce vehicle operating costs for customers.

“Freightliner LLC has been testing hybrid vans for some time through our Freightliner Custom Chassis business unit. This prototype is an important step toward future production of a medium-duty hybrid commercial vehicle,” said Michael Delaney, senior vice-president of marketing, Freightliner LLC. “We are bullish on hybrid technology and its future in the commercial marketplace.

“While other companies also are testing hybrid technology, we are proud to have the most hybrid vehicles of any North American commercial manufacturer on the roads today. We look forward to leading the expansion of commercial hybrid vehicle offerings as well.”

Pending final results of tests currently underway with the vehicle, Freightliner is considering implementing the hybrid system in a variety of medium-duty trucking segments, including beverage, school bus and pick-up and delivery applications.

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