Three hybrid hydraulic package delivery trucks have been sent to FedEx Ground, Purolator, and UPS for evaluation in cooperation with CALSTART and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC). The Hybrid, Electric and Advanced Truck Users Forum (HTUF) Parcel Delivery Working Group made the announcement yesterday.

The vehicles, built on an FCCC chassis and utilizing a Morgan Olson body, are powered by a Parker Hannifin hydraulic hybrid drive system. A grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy and additional assistance from CALSTART helped fund the prototype program, which marks the first time this technology has been deployed on a Class 6 truck, Parker said.

“We are very proud to have assembled this world-class team of leading manufacturers and fleets to help demonstrate and deploy this exciting new product. The fact that FedEx Ground, UPS, and Purolator are interested in testing this technology is a positive statement about the potential of this American-made and manufactured vehicle and technology,” said John Boesel, president & CEO, CALSTART.

The vehicles use braking energy recovered and stored in hydraulic accumulators to power the truck during acceleration.  Parker’s onboard controller incorporates an advanced engine-off strategy to minimize unnecessary run time, resulting in a 40% or more improvement in fuel economy based on route profile.

“Purolator is excited about the new FCCC truck with Parker hybrid hydraulic technology,” said Serge Viola, general manager fleet/GSE & GLH, Purolator. “We look forward to the improvements to fuel economy and drivability that this new technology brings to the industry and are willing to work with the OEM’s  to validate these improvements for other fleets to help build business cases to introduce these vehicles into  their fleets as well.”

The Parker hybrid drive system installed in the trucks is designed specifically for medium duty, start-stop applications such as parcel delivery. Based on the company’s RunWise system, typically used on heavy-duty refuse vehicles, the medium-duty version used in these vehicles runs an infinitely variable transmission, Parker said. Power from hydraulic pump/motors and accumulators is seamlessly blended with engine power depending on driver demand. 

“Parker is excited to deploy our first three hydraulic hybrid drive systems with the CALSTART-led HTUF Working Group. After recent EPA testing, Parker’s system came out best in class compared to similar hybrid systems. We are anxiously awaiting to see real world test results from our three customers: FedEx Ground, Purolator and UPS,” said Shane Terblanche, general manager, Parker’s Hybrid Drive Systems Division.

The three companies will gather data on the vehicles to establish fuel economy improvements and brake and engine maintenance costs.

 “We are optimistic that this new technology will perform as well as it did in the test vehicles improving fuel economy and reducing emissions,” said Mike Britt, director of vehicle engineering for UPS.