Coca-Cola Enterprises will purchase 120 new hybrid beverage-delivery trucks this year — all powered by Eaton's hybrid electric drivetrain system. The manufacturer said the Coca-Cola deal is the largest North American commercial order to date for Eaton's hybrid systems and follows the beverage company's purchase of 20 trucks equipped with Eaton hybrid power systems last year. Eaton announced the order at a news conference during the NTEA Work Truck Show.

“We have been working with Coca-Cola Enterprises since 2003 to assess our systems,” said Dimitri Kazarinoff, general manager for emerging technologies for Eaton's Truck Group. “Coca-Cola is demonstrating its commitment to reducing pollution and greenhouse gases, and Eaton is pleased to be a part of this effort. We are looking forward to working with them to deploy the systems into their transportation network.”

Extensive testing and evaluations conducted by Coca-Cola found that trucks equipped with Eaton's hybrid-electric drivetrain decreased emissions by roughly 32% and fuel consumption by up to 37% compared to conventionally powered trucks in Coca-Cola's current fleet. Eaton said Coca-Cola also reported lower maintenance costs on the hybrid-powered trucks.

“In addition to the environmentally friendly advantages that hybrid vehicles deliver, we are also happy to report that driver acceptance has been highly favorable, especially in high start-and-stop applications,” said Dave Leasure, corporate director of fleet procurement for Coca-Cola Enterprises. “The hybrid drive units have been performing very well in communicating with the electronic engines, always giving us the necessary torque and horsepower when it is needed.”

According to Eaton, it uses parallel-type, diesel-electric hybrid architecture with the Eaton Fuller UltraShift automated manual transmission. The hybrid setup incorporates an electric motor/generator between the output of an automated clutch and input of the transmission. The system recovers energy normally lost during braking and stores the energy in batteries. When electric torque is blended with engine torque, the stored energy is used to improve fuel economy and vehicle performance for a given speed or used to operate the vehicle with electric power only.

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