Mack to design hybrid electric truck for Air Force

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LEHIGH VALLEY, PA — Mack Trucks recently received a $1.2 million contract through Southwest Research Institute to develop diesel hybrid electric technology that will ultimately be used in military and commercial vehicles.

The majority of the work is to be performed at Mack Powertrain in Hagerstown, MD. The project involves designing a hybrid vehicle to be used for refueling operations at U.S. Air Force bases. The long-term goal is to develop heavy-duty trucks that operate on a combination of electricity and diesel fuel. Anticipated advantages of this hybrid electric technology include better fuel economy, longer engine and brake system service intervals, and reduced emissions.

Denis Leblond, Mack Powertrain senior vice president said that a likely commercial use for the technology is a refuse hauler based on a Mack truck platform. Mack is the leading manufacturer of refuse vehicles in North America with approximately 70 percent of the market.

"We believe this technology shows promise in the refuse vehicle area for the same reasons that the Air Force is interested in the refuelerreduced cost of operations and emissions without loss of performance," said Guy Rini, Mack program manager for the hybrid technology project.

Rini said Mack Powertrain has already defined a prototype vehicle configuration and, in conjunction with strategic partner Enova Systems, Inc. (symbol: ENVA), initiated design work on the motor and drive electronics. The goal is to deliver a working prototype to the Air Force by March 2005, he added.

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