WASHINGTON, DC. The U.S. House of Representatives officially received the keys to its first hybrid electric vehicle , a Peterbilt Model 330 diesel-electric truck, here yesterday as the legislative body seeks to follow one of its own mandates-- boosting fuel economy while reducing emissions. (See and photo gallery and video from the event)
“We want to make the House a leader in this available technology,” said Daniel Beard, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the House. The Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 mandated that all Members of Congress must lease vehicles that meet minimum federal standards for fuel economy. We’ve adapted that mandate to improve the House’s aging vehicle fleet.”
David Woodburn, Director of Logistics for the CAO Office, told FleetOwner that the House operates a six-vehicle fleet: two heavy trucks fitted with 24-ft van bodies; a smaller truck with a 16-ft van body; a 15-passenger van; and two half-ton cargo vans.
The Peterbilt Model 330 hybrid is replacing one of the heavy 25-ft box trucks. Woodburn said the plan is to replace the entire fleet with hybrids or other alternative power options as the vehicles are retired from service.
The main function of the CAO fleet, said Woodburn, is to move furniture, paper records, and other equipment between three Congressional office buildings, a small annex facility, and the U.S. Capitol downtown Washington DC – collectively known as “the campus” – in downtown Washington DC plus a leased 40,000-sq- ft storage facility in Sterling, VA.
The Model 330 hybrid is a Class 6 truck available with a 26,000-lb GVW rating that can also be configured for non-CDL operation equipped hydraulic brakes. The powertrain consists of Eaton’s hybrid drive system married to a 260-hp Paccar PX-6 engine that delivers up to 860 ft-lbs of torque. According to Andy Rozek, northeast region manager for Peterbilt, at 25 mph and under, the truck operates on battery power alone. Above 25 mph, the diesel engine runs with the electric motor, using on average 30% less fuel compared to a similar diesel-only truck.
That’s the reason CAO’s Woodburn believes the Model 330 hybrid makes a good fit for the House fleet’s style of operation, as 25 mph or less is the typical top speed attained while maneuvering around the congested streets of the nation’s capital. “The beauty is, when we send the truck on a run to the warehouse, which is about a 50-mile round trip, the highway driving recharges the batteries,” he noted. “That’s why a hybrid fits our operational pattern well.”
George Wilson III, principal, president & gm of Peterbilt truck dealer Elliott/Wilson Capitol Trucks LLC, told FleetOwner that the House’s purchase of the Model 330 helps raises awareness about hybrid trucks. “This really helps us raise the profile of hybrid trucks and their potential to save fuel and reduce emissions,” he said. “This should also help us bring in new [truck] customers as business from our traditional segments in this [Washington DC] area, like construction, is very slow right now.” (See and photo gallery and video from the event)