Freightliner prepares for first unveiling of hybrid truck

GAFFNEY, S.C. — New hybrid powertrain technology developed by Freightliner Custom Chassis, Eaton, and Detroit Diesel will be on public display for the first time at two of the trucking industry’s largest shows in early 2007.

The first of its kind in the medium-duty truck industry, the hybrid walk-in van chassis from FCCC will make its debut at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s 2007 Annual Exhibition, being held Feb. 6 – 8 in Tampa, Fla. Shortly after the TMC show, a fully configured hybrid diesel-electric walk-in van will be available for driving demonstrations at the NTEA Work Truck Show Hybrid Ride & Drive, being held March 7- 9 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Visitors will have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the technology. Hybrid walk-in vans are built on FCCC’s MT-45 SR chassis platform, which provides all of the operating benefits of a standard Freightliner walk-in van chassis along with the added value and savings from the hybrid diesel-electric powertrain, the company says.

The vehicle is powered by an electric motor through an energy storage device developed by Eaton and a Mercedes-Benz MBE904 diesel engine from Detroit Diesel.

The trucks have shown a 50-percent improvement in fuel economy as well as a significant reduction in emissions.

FCCC is the first in the medium-duty truck industry to develop the hybrid chassis technology and introduce it to market. FedEx and UPS have both purchased the trucks for revenue-generating markets.

The technology powering the hybrid chassis works by using lithium-ion batteries that capture and store energy during the “regenerative braking” phase of the vehicle’s operation. This provides a constant source of stored electrical power on demand. The battery is charged through the power train, meaning there’s no need for a power cord or electrical outlet.

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