Photo: schnaars, CC
Hybridization Isn't Just for Private Vehicles
Eaton makes, among other things, hybrid drivetrains for commercial trucks and buses. The most familiar models to most people is probably the one used by UPS for local deliveries, but their hybrid vehicles are also used as city buses, school buses, package delivery trucks, beverage delivery trucks, refrigerated delivery trucks, refuse and recycling trucks, utility vehicles, etc. With more than 4,500 hybrids on the road, Eaton has just hit a milestone: "customers of its hybrid systems have collectively accumulated more than 100 million miles of service, reducing fuel consumption by 4 million gallons of diesel fuel and harmful emissions by 40,000 metric tons."
Greener Commercial Vehicles
The graphs above are for the Eaton Medium-Duty Pick-up/City Delivery Applications (like the ones used by UPS). The hybrid system provides an "up to 50 percent improvement in fuel economy and emissions" and the regenerative brakes reduce brake and engine wear. It also reduces considerably emissions when the trucks would usually be left to idle, and since they are mostly diesel and used in urban areas were air quality is especially crucial, this is a very good thing.
Let's hope that the market for hybrid and electric commercial vehicles will stay healthy, because while many cars can be taken off the roads by doing things like expanding public transit and walking/biking infrastructure, commercial vehicles are harder to eliminate (long-haul trucking can be replaced by rail, but you still need to move goods around inside cities).
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