ATLANTA – As part of a public-private partnership to increase the commercial availability and use of alternative-fuel vehicles, UPS has purchased hydraulic hybrid vehicles, according to www.csrwire.com. The technology, originally developed in a federal laboratory of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), stores energy by compressing hydraulic fluid under pressure in a large chamber. UPS was the only company in its industry asked to road-test the technology two years ago and now becomes the first delivery company to place an order for hydraulic hybrid vehicles (HHV).
“There is no question that hydraulic hybrids, although little known to the public, are ready for prime time use on the streets of America,” said David Abney, UPS’ chief operating officer, according to www.csrwire.com. “We are not declaring hydraulic hybrids a panacea for our energy woes, but this technology certainly is as promising as anything we’ve seen to date.”
Disclosing the results of its road testing on Detroit routes for the first time, UPS and the EPA said the prototype vehicle had achieved a 45-to-50 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to conventional diesel delivery trucks. UPS believes similar fuel economy improvements and a 30 percent reduction in CO2 are achievable in daily, real-world use. The EPA believes the technology can perform equally well in other applications such as shuttle and transit buses and refuse pick-up trucks.
UPS will deploy the first two of the new HHV’s in Minneapolis during the first quarter of 2009. Eaton, which helped develop and refine the vehicle’s hydraulic hybrid power system, will monitor the vehicle’s fuel economy performance and emissions in the Minneapolis area. The additional five HHV’s will be deployed later in 2009 and early 2010.
UPS’ current “green fleet” totals more than 1,600 low-carbon vehicles, including all-electric, hybrid electric, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), and propane-powered trucks. In addition to the hydraulic hybrid, UPS has road-tested hydrogen fuel cell delivery trucks.
The HHV vehicle order follows the May 2008 purchase of 500 hybrid electric and CNG vehicles and the April 2008 deployment of 167 new CNG vehicles in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Ontario, San Ramon, Fresno, and Sacramento. With UPS’ new purchases, the company’s green fleet will total more than 2,100 vehicles.