Hybrid truck converted to plug-in

Ricardo has unveiled details of its contribution to an innovative plug-in hybrid electric utility truck that was recently shown to US President Barack Obama.

The project was created by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation for Southern California Edison.

Ricardo's involvement in the first phase of the project included the controls system support to Eaton for the integration of a high energy battery pack into a Ford F-550 chassis, and the modification of the control system to allow electric power take off operation. The battery system was designed to supplement engine power and also provide power to operate the utility truck boom. The plug-in hybrid drivetrain is expected to deliver up to 70 per cent improvement in fuel economy, with correspondingly reduced emissions.

The plug-in hybrid truck is the first of five 'boom and bucket' trucks based on a Ford F-550 chassis that will be provided by Eaton, EPRI and Ford to public and private utility fleets in the United States for use and evaluation. In addition to fuel and emissions savings while the truck is on the road, additional energy savings are available by using the electric side of the system to power the ancillary systems and tools when the truck is stopped at a work site.

The entire system can be recharged by plugging it into a standard 120- or 240-volt electrical outlet. Once charged, the battery energy can be used to supplement engine power and also provide power to operate auxiliaries, such as the utility truck boom.
"We see this as a great opportunity to bring electric power into the commercial vehicle industry and utilise it both for improving fuel economy while driving, and for meeting power demands while stationary", said Karina Morley, Ricardo global product group director for Controls & Electronics.

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