Most people are familiar with a gasoline-electric hybrids. Examples are the Toyota Prius, Ford Mariner Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid etc. OK, there is a new hybrid on the block! Yes, the UPS truck you will see driving down the road in the near future!
Here is a prime example of how our government should work! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Advanced Technology Division, in coordination with Eaton, Navistar and the United Parcel Service (UPS) are developing a new technology to power UPS trucks. The technology utilizes high pressure hydraulic fluid. A 170-hp diesel engine is connected to a hydraulic pump instead of a transmission. The engine is not used to propel the truck but instead pressurizes the hydraulic fluid. The fluid is stored in an pressurized storage tanks located under the vehicle. The pressurized hydraulic fluid powers two hydraulic motors drive the rear wheels of the vehicle. Under braking the motors slow the truck and recapture energy in the process.
This technology gives the UPS truck a 45-50% gain in fuel economy. The fuel savings will pay for the additional costs of the technology within three years. Many hybrids take much longer to pay for the additional cost of the vehicle. So, this development is key for the mass production of the technology and the application to passenger cars.
The EPA has built a Ford Expedition with this technology. Fuel economy increased substantially by 85 percent mainly due to swapping the Expedition’s 5.4-liter V-8 for a 1.9-liter Volkswagen diesel. Who says that Americans cannot have their SUVS?