Using trucks where the engine has no direct physical link to the wheels, UPS is testing a new hydraulic hybrid system for some of its trucks.
The trucks use a Freightliner custom chassis and hydraulic hybrid system from Parker Hannifin Corp. Financing for the trucks has been made possible by the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, according to a press release. The deal calls for 638 vehicles.
The hydraulic drive system is purported to be more efficient than traditional hybrid systems because there is less energy lost between the engine and the wheels.
Specially designed for stop-and-go vehicles, the system captures energy as the vehicle brakes. When the vehicle is restarted, the hydraulic system puts the vehicle in motion. When the captured energy is depleted, then the engine kicks in.
The developers say that this method captures 70 percent of energy used from braking, compared to just 20-25 percent for typical electric hybrid models, such as the Toyota Prius.
The vehicle should show a 50-70 percent improvement in fuel economy in stop-and-go situations, compared to typical delivery vehicles.
Also, because the engine is not running during during its initial acceleration, it should reduce emissions at depots and delivery points.
In other news, UPS is offering eco-minded customers the option of paying a price to offset the emissions associated with shipment of their packages. The UPS Carbon Neutral program costs just a nickel per package for regular ground services and 20 cents per package for Next Day Air, 2nd Day Air and 3 Day Select services.