Paice Corp., based in Silver Spring, MD, unveiled a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain system for light trucks at the SAE Truck & Bus Meeting and Exposition in Chicago this week.

Called Hyperdrive, the system is designed to reduce both gasoline consumption and vehicle emissions, said David F. Polletta, vp-engineering for Paice.

"The Hyperdrive is an ideal solution for operators of delivery vans and light trucks in urban areas," he said. "It drives the vehicle with electric motors during most urban driving, activating the gasoline engine only intermittently to keep its batteries charged."

Polletta added that Hyperdrive uses of high-voltage, high-power semiconductors and high-horsepower induction motors, in conjunction with efficient use of the internal combustion engine, to achieve maximum fuel economy. The system approaches maximum efficiency because the engine runs only in its most efficient range and never idles. The transmission is replaced by electric motors, he said.

The same type of hybrid system for medium and heavy trucks was suggested at the show Monday by Delphi Automotive Systems.