Mack and other manufacturers took their hybrid technology to Washington in hopes of educating legislators on the benefits of hybrids.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — US legislators were given an up-close look at some hybrid commercial vehicles last week during a demonstration at Capitol Hill.
Mack had a TerraPro cabover hybrid on display at the event (dubbed Hybrid on the Hill Day), which is the company’s first production intent parallel diesel-electric hybrid for Class 8 heavy-duty applications.
“Our hybrid technology will be commercially viable, yet it will take time to establish a robust hybrid market for heavy vehicles that will enable us to invest in large scale production,” said Dennis Slagle, Mack president and CEO. “Incentives will accelerate the adoption of Class 8 hybrids and bring forward the positive environmental changes.”
Mack officials emphasized the important role government can play in encouraging the use of environmentally-friendly commercial vehicles through the use of grants and subsidies. Currently, most heavy-duty hybrids come at a significant cost premium and that will continue until economies of scale are established, company officials pointed out.
“Government incentives are necessary to establish a market for these vehicles with environmental benefits, similar to the incentives offered for hybrid passenger vehicles,” said Tom Kelly, Mack senior vice-president, product portfolio management. “The public benefit of these incentives will be reduced environmental impact as hybrid heavy-duty trucks become more common.”
ArvinMeritor was also represented on Capitol Hill, where it showcased its own hybrid system currently in use by Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is currently evaluating ArvinMeritor’s first hybrid drivetrain system in linehaul applications.
“While most hybrid systems today are best suited for start-stop applications, our hybrid drivetrain is specifically designed for linehaul, over-the-road trucks, the largest segment of the commercial vehicle population,” said Carsten J. Reinhardt, president of ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems (CVS) business.
The ArvinMeritor system, developed in partnership with Navistar and Cummins, consists of a proprietary motor/generator unit, high-capacity lithium ion batteries and an overall power management system, the company explained.
At speeds of less than 48 mph, the vehicle is powered entirely by the electric motor. At highway speed, the drivetrain phases to the diesel-powered engine. Energy is captured during braking and stored in the batteries.
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