OK, here we are with what is now a weekly look at the technology scene. I think of this week’s newsletter as the alternate report, having had a bi-weekly schedule for nearly 8 years. Things may eventually change but for now, I’ll do this in-between one differently. Unless there’s a major issue that needs some serious depth, I’m going to be… shall we say… breezy, more news-oriented. I referred to it as Product Watch Lite in last week’s newsletter, so we’ll take that approach for now and see how it goes.
Here’s what’s been happening…
AT THE RECENT HYBRID TRUCK USERS FORUM gathering in Baltimore, Eaton celebrated the fact that customers of its hybrid systems have collectively accumulated more than 320 million kilometres of service, reducing diesel fuel consumption by 8 million gallons and harmful emissions by 80,000 metric tons. More than 5500 of the company’s hybrid systems are in use today worldwide. I say congrats.
Perhaps more significantly, the company also launched a program that lowers the replacement cost for its hybrid power systems electronics carriers (PECs) by up to half for P & D as well as utility applications. A standard aftermarket warranty of one year parts and labour applies, with a two-year extended protection plan available at an additional cost.
The genesis of this move is simple: early adopters of hybrid technology are beginning to require service of batteries outside the factory warranty period.
Eaton will also offer two auxiliary power generator (APG) options for its hybrid systems that allow users to continue running vital equipment idling the main engine.
ALSO AT HTUF, FREIGHTLINER announced that it has started delivering Business Class M2 106 hybrid trucks with a new start/stop feature that also includes a useful hill-hold capability. I like that one. It’s now in full production, a aimed at applications like that of its first customer, an armoured-car fleet (Dunbar Armored) that does a zillion hours of idling when loading and unloading. With start-stop, they don’t have to keep their engines running as the batteries will power HVAC systems.
Freightliner also reached a milestone this year, celebrating the production of its 1000th hybrid truck at the beginning of 2011. Deliveries now number over 1400 units.
AND STILL WITH HYBRIDS, BAE Systems says it’s done road tests showing that commercial trucks powered by its green HybriDrive parallel hybrid electric propulsion system use 30% less fuel than trucks running on traditional diesel. Predictably, the system performed best on stop-and-go cycles where average speed is between about 8 and 30 km/h, making it especially useful for refuse collection and delivery trucks. BAE says that translates into payback within three to five years.