Freightliner introduces medium-duty hybrid prototype

Oct. 1, 2006
IN A PRESS conference August 24 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas, Freightliner LLC president and CEO Chris Patterson introduced a

IN A PRESS conference August 24 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas, Freightliner LLC president and CEO Chris Patterson introduced a proof-of-concept prototype utility truck and discussed the company's plans to bring medium-duty hybrid vehicles to the market. The prototype vehicle on display, a Class 7 Business Class M2 106, is an example of how Freightliner can integrate engine, powertrain, and other vehicle functions with industry-leading and environmentally responsible technology.

The prototype is a full-parallel hybrid, similar to hybrid electric cars, with regenerative braking that recharges the batteries and electric launch functionality. It has an integrated electric motor in line with the engine and transmission, enabling operation with electric or diesel power, either separately or in combination. The truck launches with electric power, and the diesel engine provides additional torque as required.

The prototype is a Business Class M2 106 model with a 33,000-lb gross vehicle weight rating chassis powered by a 230-horsepower MBE 900 engine that offers 660-lb/ft of torque. By incorporating a 44-kilowatt, 59-hp electric motor, the engine can achieve 290 horsepower and 860 lb/ft torque when the electric and diesel motors are paired. Simulations and testing have shown significant fuel economy improvements over conventional diesel engines and promises to greatly reduce vehicle operating costs.

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

Pending final results of tests currently underway with this proof-of-concept vehicle, Freightliner LLC is considering implementing the hybrid system in a variety of medium-duty trucking segments, including beverage, school bus, and pick-up and delivery applications (including food-service distribution and petroleum deliveries).

Freightliner is collaborating on this effort with the Hybrid Business Unit of Eaton Corporation.

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