Hercules Manufacturing Co. has received five additional orders from Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. for its hybrid Proof of Concept (POC) vehicle.
"This makes a stronger statement to their environmental interests as well as their approval of Hercules in this first of its kind green hybrid transport for the refrigerated truck industry," said Joe Banna, Hercules President Emeritus, referring to Prairie Farms.
With an $80,000 investment in R&D and Eaton Corporation's hybrid diesel/electric technology, Hercules has developed what it says is the first green cold-plate refrigeration hybrid unit of its kind. This advancement will save customers of refrigerated products an estimated $7,000-plus annually per vehicle in fuel and maintenance costs while being environmentally safe. The truck's hybrid engine technology could reduce annual CO2 emissions by up to 43,000 pounds per vehicle, compared to conventional refrigeration systems.
"It is a green solution in terms of the environment, but also in terms of the additional money saved to the companies who employ it," said Hercules owner and CEO, Jeffrey Caddick.
"We chose Hercules because they are at the forefront of this groundbreaking technology and they have an extended association with Eaton Corporation," said Jay Naples, Corporate Fleet Manager of Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. "Being the first to try this new green hybrid design, we hope to set a precedent in our industry and establish environmentally friendly transportation."
As an all electric, green and zero-carbon footprint refrigeration system, the green Hercules body combines heating and cooling capabilities with over-the-road power generation in a Direct-Store-Delivery (DSD) vehicle. This unique refrigeration design eliminates the complexity of onboard generators and/or inverters with a seamless power management module that uses the hybrid chassis battery system during the delivery day and shore power at night. Ideal for designated "Non-Attainment" areas, benefits include reduced emissions, automatic hot gas defrost, fuel usage reduction, better serviceability, greater ROI, noise reduction and increased driver convenience.
Through re-engineering and newly developed electronic controls, the green truck can use the electricity generated by the hybrid motor to recharge its cold-plate refrigeration system on the road enabling companies to run longer routes since the weight of the refrigeration system has been reduced to improve fuel mileage. It also means the green hybrid truck can go without needing to return and repower the cold plates in its refrigeration system, which lose their cool gradually.
"Delivery costs are one of our highest expenses," Prairie Farms CEO Ed Mullins said.
Prairie Farms will put the green hybrid vehicle on the road immediately, where it will be wirelessly monitored 24/7 by Hercules to track the performance of the POC vehicle. The additional five vehicles ordered will go into production upon receipt of hybrid chassis.