EPA partnership plans to deliver on new hybrid technology

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the first-ever series hydraulic hybrid diesel urban delivery vehicle, which aims to provide dramatic improvements in fuel economy and in emission reductions.

The development of the hydraulic hybrid is the result of a partnership between the EPA, the US Army, UPS, International Truck and Engine and Eaton.

The EPA and UPS plan to evaluate the vehicle’s fuel economy performance and emissions during a series of tests in 2006. In laboratory testing, the EPA’s patented hydraulic hybrid diesel technology achieved a 60% to 70% improvement in fuel economy and more than a 40% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, compared to a conventional UPS vehicle, according to the agency.

“EPA and our partners are not just delivering packages with this UPS truck; we are delivering environmental benefits to the American people,” said Stephen Johnson, EPA administrator. “We are doing what is good for our environment, good for our economy, and good for our nation’s energy security.”

The EPA estimated that when manufactured in high volume, the added costs of the hybrid components could be recouped in less than three years through lower fuel and brake maintenance costs.

In the series hydraulic hybrid diesel, a high-efficiency diesel engine is combined with a unique hydraulic propulsion system, replacing the conventional drivetrain and transmission. The vehicle uses hydraulic pumps and hydraulic storage tanks to store energy, similar to what is done with electric motors and batteries in hybrid electric vehicles.

UPS, International and Eaton have been working with the EPA and the US Army’s National Automotive Center on the hydraulic technology for several years.

“The hydraulic hybrid technology is quite promising and we’re eager to see how the vehicle performs in a real-world setting,” said John Beystehner, chief operating officer of UPS. “We have led our industry in testing alternative fuel vehicles because fuel conservation is critical to our business. We believe the impact of this initiative will
go far beyond our industry.”

UPS will test the hydraulic hybrid for the next several months. It will be used on a city route in the Detroit area, making daily deliveries to homes and businesses. Previously, UPS partnered with the EPA on its hydrogen fuel cell delivery vehicles, which have been part of the company’s fleet since 2003.

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