Freightliner LLC has introduced as proof-of-concept prototype hybrid utility truck, a Class 7 Business Class M2 106. The full-parallel hybrid—which can be run off of either the electric or diesel motor, or both—features regenerative braking that recharges the batteries.

The model has a 33,000-lb. GVWR chassis powered by a 230-hp. MBE 900 engine that offers 660 lb.-ft. of torque and a 44-kw, 59-hp. electric motor. When paired with the electric motor, the engine produces 290 hp. and 860 lb.-ft. if torque. The OEM claims the prototype demonstrated “significant fuel economy improvements” in testing.

“Freightliner LLC has been testing hybrid vans for some time through our Freightliner Custom Chassis business unit,” said Michael Delaney, senior vp of marketing for Freightliner LLC. “This prototype is an important step toward future production of a medium-duty hybrid commercial vehicle. We are bullish on hybrid technology and its future in the commercial marketplace.”

Freightliner noted that its utility customers will benefit form the fact that its hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) system is integrated with hydraulics for the electric power takeoff operation. On the jobsite, the engine would remain off most of the time with the hydraulics being run by the batteries. When the batteries get low, the diesel engine automatically turns on to recharge them and shuts itself off in about five minutes when finished. This is done seamlessly for utility workers, with no interruption, Freightliner said.

“Utility companies will be able to perform their duties with significantly less idle time, meaning lower levels of noise, heat and exhaust emissions,” Freightliner LLC stated. Brakes shoes will also receive less wear, thanks to regenerative braking, the OEM added.

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