Colorado State University (CSU) has announced it will retrofit two 2012 GMC internal-delivery campus trucks with fuel-efficient hydraulic hybrid systems, paid for by a grant from the Colorado Energy Office.

Colorado State has selected Lightning Hybrids LLC to provide the systems. The university said the hybrid systems will save up to $1,700 a year for each truck in fuel and maintenance costs.

These trucks deliver up to 40% better fuel economy than non-hybrids because they regenerate braking energy, according to Lightning Hybrids. In addition, the vehicles produce lower emissions, furthering CSU’s clean and sustainable initiatives.

Lightning Hybrids is run by two CSU alumni, Dan Johnson, CEO, and Tim Reeser, co-founder and president.

“We’re pleased to partner with our local university but even more so because we are alumni,” Reeser said. “In 1992, I participated in CSU’s alternative fuel vehicle teams as a mechanical engineering student and it is fun to be expanding upon those projects in real-world applications that can save fleets money as well as provide cleaner alternatives to traditional engines.

“We’ve tested the system on-road as well as in the lab, including CSU’s engines lab, and now we’re looking forward to working closely with CSU’s fleet to gather data on how the system is working in this real-world delivery truck use,” he added.

“We’re happy to be working with a local company like Lightning Hybrids,´ said Gene Stroh, transportation manager for CSU’s fleet. “I know I’ve been interested in this hybrid conversion from the moment I was introduced to it. The system is simple, yet very effective and should work well in the stop-and-go environment here on campus. We’re all looking forward to the results once the vehicles are put into service and used on a daily basis.”

"The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) sees this project as a great opportunity to continue the state's efforts at making our fleet more efficient," said Tom Hunt, policy programs manager at CEO. "

Lightning Hybrids has been working on the hydraulic hybrid system, which is made and assembled in Loveland, CO, since September 2008. Other local entities, including the City of Loveland and the City of Greeley, have purchased or are in final negotiations to install systems in their fleets in the next few months.