International Truck and Engine Corporation announced that it is the first company to enter line production of hybrid commercial trucks—the International DuraStar Hybrid, a diesel hybrid electric medium-duty truck that provides customers with improved fuel efficiency and reduced engine emissions.
According to International, the DuraStar Hybrid diesel hybrid electric truck offers fuel savings of 30-40% on a standard in-city pickup and delivery applications. The fuel efficiency can increase to more than 60 percent in utility-type applications when the engine can be shut off, but electric power still operates the vehicle. Diesel emissions are completely eliminated when the hybrid truck operates equipment (like overhead utility booms) solely on the truck’s battery power, instead of allowing the engine to idle.
In 2006, International built and delivered 24 developmental hybrid units to 14 major utility companies across North America with overwhelmingly positive results.
“We tested International the hybrid truck for almost a year and it has provided substantial savings in diesel fuel,” said George Survant at Florida Power & Light. “Plus, the truck’s boom can operate on battery power instead of the engine, which results in less fuel consumed, less emissions released into the air and reduced noise in the neighborhoods where we work.”
The Hybrid Truck Users Forum estimates that nearly 1,000 gallons of fuel can be saved annually on utility trucks. With almost 100,000 new medium-duty commercial trucks expected to be sold in 2007, even if a portion of those trucks sold are International’s hybrid trucks, the overall fuel savings could be substantial.
The key challenge facing the trucking industry is the high initial cost to bring the hybrid technology to market. As International builds scale, hybrid truck prices are expected to decrease dramatically, similar to price reduction in computer technology and home electronics equipment over the years. Many customers have also been working to secure government funding to help offset the cost of the new technology. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 can provide tax credits of up to $12,000 per unit.
In addition to production of the International DuraStar diesel hybrid, Navistar’s contributions to advanced diesel-hybrid technology include:
- IC Corporation, the nation’s largest school bus and commercial bus manufacturer and a whole-owned affiliate of Navistar, recently announced it is the first and only bus manufacturer to begin production hybrid school buses in partnership with Enova Systems. The buses improve fuel efficiency by 70-100 percent while reducing emissions by up to 90 percent.
- Scheduled delivery of the nation’s first 19 plug-in hybrid school buses from IC Corporation to 11 states under the efforts of Advanced Energy, a non-profit consortium of school districts, state energy agencies and student transportation providers.
- IC Corporation’s announcement in October 2006 that it is launching a new line of diesel-electric hybrid commercial buses that use the Enova system.
- Navistar’s partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Army, UPS and Eaton Corporation to develop the first-ever series diesel hydraulic hybrid urban delivery vehicle.