William Duggan is proud. Very proud. Look at his company's Web site and you'll see various images of his new Kenworth T370 diesel-electric hybrid truck prominently featured on the home page.
"We're the first moving company we know of to adopt hybrid technology, and we're very proud of that fact," said Duggan, owner and president of Wm. Duggan Co. Inc., in Walpole, Mass. "We're moving to hybrids for the environment and we're doing it for the cost savings. We feel it's the future for in-city moving companies."
According to Duggan, whose company runs 55 Class 5-8 moving trucks as an agent under the Atlas Van Lines banner, the Kenworth T370 hybrid is doubling the fuel economy of the company's other medium duty moving vans.
"The fuel economy and quality of the Kenworth hybrid has exceeded all our expectations. We're getting between 11 and 14 mpg compared to 6 to 7 mpg with our standard medium duty trucks," said Duggan. "Since the hybrid is expected to run 30,000 miles per year, we're projecting close to $7,000 a year in fuel savings. Plus we're putting substantially less pollutants into the air."
Duggan's Kenworth T370 hybrid operates primarily between Boston and New York. "It's a lot of stop-and-go traffic and the perfect application for the truck," said Duggan. "Our customers are noticing and appreciating the fact that we're running a hybrid. They see we're doing our small part to reduce fuel consumption while helping the environment by reducing our carbon footprint. As we expand in the future with more hybrids, that commitment will be further strengthened."
Duggan's Kenworth T370 hybrid includes a PACCAR PX-6 engine rated at 280 hp, Eaton diesel-electric hybrid power system, integral transmission-mounted motor/generator; and frame-mounted 340-volt, lithium-ion battery pack. Electricity generated through regenerative braking is stored and used for acceleration, assisting the diesel engine. The hybrid system is monitored through an in-dash display. As the power requirements for different driving conditions change, the screen constantly updates the driver on system status. Purchasers of Kenworth hybrid trucks may qualify for a federal tax credit ranging from $6,000 to $12,000.
Even with housing sales lacking, Duggan said his company is prospering. "We actually had a record year in 2008 and we're on track for 2009 to be just as good. That's testament to our more than 100 employees and dedication to quality service," said Duggan, who is celebrating the silver anniversary of his company, which began operation in 1984. The company has won numerous awards from Atlas Van Lines, including the Milton M. Hill Quality Award, the Atlas Van Lines Superior Warehouse Rating, and The Atlas Van Lines Hauling Excellence Award.
The hybrid joins several other Kenworths in Duggan's operation. "We're running primarily Kenworth T2000s for our long haul movers, which typically run between the East Coast and Los Angeles and San Francisco," he said. "That's been a great truck for our operation. We're averaging 6.5 mpg now, but once the engines are broken in, we should be able to improve past 7 mpg."
Duggan said he once had the misperception that he couldn't afford a Kenworth. "That was naive thinking. I now know that we can't afford not to have a Kenworth," said Duggan. "When you factor in fuel economy, operational costs, serviceability and reliability, driver acceptance and comfort, plus resale value, we know Kenworth is the right choice for us. The trucks we operate are a reflection of us. I think they're one reason why we've been so successful."