Wal-Mart Hits The Road With Hybrid Peterbilt 386

This prototype Peterbilt Model 386 Hybrid, ordered by Wal-Mart and produced by The Pete Store, Inc. is designed to be up to 7% more efficient than the typical over the road carrier. "The heavy duty hybrid electric Model 386, configured for on-highway use, is being developed in conjunction with Eaton and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. It is currently in the testing and evaluation phase and is expected to be available in 2010. Wal-Mart, which operates the nation's second largest private fleet, is supporting development by helping validate the concept and refine the final design." TreeHugger previously posted about Eaton's role in making hybrid step vans for Federal Express Corporation. During third-party testing, the Eaton Hybrid Power System has routinely achieved a 5-7 percent fuel savings versus comparable, non-hybrid models. The heavy-duty hybrid electric power system features an automated manual transmission with a parallel-type "direct" hybrid system, incorporating an electric motor/generator located between the output of an automated clutch and the input to Eaton's Fuller® UltraShift® transmission.The system captures energy generated by the diesel engine and recovers energy normally lost during braking and stores the energy in batteries. That electric torque is then sent through the motor/generator and blended with engine torque to improve vehicle performance, operate the engine in a more fuel-efficient range for a given speed and/or operate only with electric power in certain situations."

Operational cost savings is estimated to be approximately $9,000 annually, based on an average cost of US$2.50 per gallon. Wal-Mart anticipates that the hybrid version will help the company move toward its goal of increasing fleet efficiency by 25 percent. If the seven percent gets Wal-Mart 1/4 of the way to their goal, where does the rest come from, rail roads?

Via:: Business Wire

Image credit: Peterbilt Corporation