Hybrids – Vehicles, Battery & Hydraulic Technology

Colorado State University Retrofits Two Delivery Trucks with Hydraulic Systems

January 23, 2013

Colorado State University (CSU) will retrofit two internal delivery trucks with fuel-efficient hydraulic hybrid systems, paid for by a grant from the Colorado Energy Office. The vehicles, 2012 GMC trucks, will be put into delivery service on campus.

Colorado State has selected Lightning Hybrids LLC to provide the systems, which are each expected to save CSU up to $1,700 annually in fuel and maintenance costs.

These trucks, the first hydraulic hybrid medium-duty trucks to be used in real-world application, get up to 40 percent better fuel economy than non-hybrids because they regenerate braking energy, according to Lightning Hybrids. In addition, the vehicles have lower emissions, furthering CSU’s clean and sustainable initiatives.

Lightning Hybrids is run by two CSU alumni, Dan Johnson, CEO, and Tim Reeser, co-founder and president.

“We’re pleased to partner with our local university, but even more so because we are alumni. In 1992, I participated in CSU’s alternative-fuel vehicle teams as a mechanical engineering student and it is fun to be expanding upon those projects in real-world applications that can save fleets money as well as provide cleaner alternatives to traditional engines,” Reeser said. “We’ve tested the system on-road as well as in the lab, including CSU’s engines lab, and now we’re looking forward to working closely with CSU’s fleet to gather data on how the system is working in this real-world delivery truck use.”

According to Gene Stroh, transportation manager for CSU’s fleet, he’s been interested in the hybrid conversion from the moment he was introduced to it. “The system is simple, yet very effective, and should work well in the stop-and-go environment here on campus. We’re all looking forward to the results once the vehicles are put into service and used on a daily basis.”

"The Colorado Energy Office sees this project as a great opportunity to continue the state's efforts at making our fleet more efficient," said Tom Hunt, policy programs manager at CEO. "The fact that CSU selected Lightning Hybrids, a Colorado company, as the technology vendor provides further benefits as it supports Colorado innovation.

Lightning Hybrids has been working on the hydraulic hybrid system, made and assembled in Loveland, since September 2008. Other local entities, including the City of Loveland and the City of Greeley, have purchased or are in final negotiations to install systems in their fleets in the next few months, according to the company. The Lightning Hybrid hydraulic system is available for heavy duty vehicles – work trucks, shuttle buses, utility vehicles – both new or retrofited to vehicles currently in fleets.

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