Electric utility orders 18 International DuraStar hybrids

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American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, is expanding its green efforts to include more hybrid trucks. On Earth Day at Navistar Inc.’s assembly plant in Springfield, Ohio, AEP announced that it has ordered its largest number of hybrid trucks to date – 18 International DuraStar Hybrid diesel hybrid trucks.

AEP says the addition of 18 International DuraStar Hybrids will bring the total number of hybrid utility trucks in its fleet to 22 – giving it the largest fleet of diesel hybrid utility trucks in the country.

International says DuraStar Hybrid trucks are capable of providing dramatic fuel savings of nearly 60 percent in utility-type applications when the engine can be shut off, but electric power still operates the vehicle; diesel emissions are eliminated completely when the hybrid truck operates equipment – like overhead utility booms – solely on the truck’s battery power, instead of requiring the engine to run.

“AEP has experienced great results from our first four International hybrid trucks,” says Helen Murray, president and chief operating officer for Indiana Michigan Power, an operating company subsidiary of AEP. “We are proud to expand our use of hybrid trucks. It’s a good business decision, and the right thing to do for the environment.”

The additional 18 hybrid units are expected to be delivered this summer, of which 13 will operate in Indiana Michigan Power’s fleet. AEP has nearly 1,500 International trucks in its fleet.

“The hybrid combination of the diesel engine and electric battery provides a number of advantages for companies like AEP,” says Jim Williams, director of sales and distribution of new products for Navistar. “We commend AEP for exhibiting leadership with this new technology. The ability to cut diesel fuel use in half, reduce emissions, reduce greenhouse gases and reduce engine wear not only is a smart environmental decision, it’s a smart business decision as well.”

The Hybrid Truck Users Forum estimates that 1,000 to 1,500 gallons of fuel can be saved per utility truck annually. At today’s high diesel prices, that equates to a savings of $4,000 to $6,000 in fuel per truck annually. It also results in annual greenhouse gas reductions of 11 to 16.5 tons of carbon dioxide per unit. AEP expects to save $72,000 to $108,000 in fuel costs and eliminate 200 to 300 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over a one-year period with this order of 18 trucks.

International DuraStar Hybrid trucks employ a parallel-type diesel-electric hybrid architecture that is supplied by Eaton Corp. It incorporates an electric motor/generator between the output of an automated clutch and input of the automated transmission. The system recovers energy normally lost during braking and stores the energy in batteries. The hybrid-electric system recovers energy during braking, and can add power back into the driveline during start and acceleration.

International says this capability makes the truck more efficient in standard driving, particularly in city and stop-and-go driving. When the truck reaches a worksite, the hybrid system can power the hydraulic pump that operates the aerial device and the tools for up to two hours without the engine running. The trucks are built at the company’s plant in Springfield, Ohio. Customers can learn more about hybrid trucks at www.internationaltrucks.com/hybrid.