18 October 2004
International Truck and Engine Corporation and Eaton Corporation have been selected to manufacture diesel-electric hybrid trucks for a US national pilot program serving the utility industry. The pilot truck program, the largest in the USA to date, will test a minimum of 20 factory-built International utility trucks featuring an integrated hybrid powertrain solution jointly developed by the two companies.
The program was announced at the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF) operated by WestStart, an advanced technology consortium, and the US military. WestStart will be administering the pilot program through the support of the US Army’s National Automotive Center.
The initial powertrain will couple an International DT 466 in-line six-cylinder diesel engine with an Eaton series hybrid-electric drivetrain. Power from the engine is converted directly into electrical energy, which then incorporates a permanent magnet motor and the conventional drivetrain to power the truck. The system recovers kinetic energy during braking, charging the batteries while the truck is slowing down. This provides additional power for acceleration, making the hybrid trucks ideal for in-city driving situations with frequent starting and stopping. Additionally, the hybrid truck used in the pilot will operate the utility bucket in an electric-only mode, with the engine shut off, for up to 2 hours and provide electric power during idling for added fuel saving benefits. International and Eaton expect the hybrid to deliver a 40 to 60% increase in fuel economy.
The diesel-electric hybrid test vehicles—International 4000 Series medium trucks—will be manufactured at International’s Springfield, OH, truck assembly plant. If the pilot program is successful, International is prepared produce diesel-electric hybrid trucks as early as 2006.