This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 16, 2005

EPA and Four Partners to Build a Hydraulic Hybrid Delivery Van

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on February 10th that it will work with four partners to build the world's first full hydraulic hybrid delivery vehicle. Hydraulic hybrids work like hybrid electric vehicles, except that they use tanks of hydraulic fluids under pressure to store mechanical energy, whereas a hybrid electric vehicle stores electrical energy in a battery. EPA and its four partners—UPS, Eaton Corp., International Truck and Engine Corporation, and the U.S Army National Automotive Center (NAC)—will begin by building a full hydraulic hybrid powertrain and an innovative hydraulic hybrid propulsion system integrated with the drive axle. A second phase of the project will follow up a year later by adding a clean diesel engine. The UPS demonstration vehicle is projected to achieve a 60 to 70 percent improvement in fuel economy over today's delivery vehicles, while meeting the 2010 EPA standard for nitrous oxide emissions from heavy vehicles. The EPA expects a 3-year payback period for the added cost of the hydraulic hybrid system. See the EPA press release and online fact sheet.

The plans for the UPS demonstration vehicle are sure to be a hot topic at the Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Conference 2005, which starts on February 22nd in La Quinta, California. Billed as the nation's premier gathering of industry, military, and regulatory leaders focused on cleaner and more efficient heavy-duty vehicles, the conference is organized by WestStart-CALSTART and the NAC, with major support from the Federal Transit Administration. See the conference announcement from WestStart-CALSTART.