American Honda Motor Co. using Peterbilt 386 diesel-electric hybrid

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As part of its ongoing effort to reduce its global carbon-dioxide footprint and fuel consumption, American Honda Motor Co. Inc. says that on Wednesday, March 4, it became the first company in its industry to introduce a Class 8 hybrid diesel-electric truck into its truck fleet at its parts center in Alpharetta, Ga. Built for Honda by Peterbilt Motors Co., the Environmental Protection Agency Smartway-certified Model 386 hybrid truck is expected to reduce emissions by almost 45 tons per year, as compared to its diesel counterpart.

Honda says it uses Class 8 trucks to transport service parts between its parts centers and dealerships; the company’s diesel truck fleet – operated by its truck fleet partner, UPS Freight Truckload – typically travels 300,000 miles per day.

The hybrid truck will be utilized along two routes – a hilly route in Tennessee and a relatively flat one in Georgia – in order to evaluate the truck’s fuel economy under various driving conditions. Honda says it will alternate the hybrid with a standard diesel truck and will collect data using engine telematics to accurately compare the performance of the two trucks on the same routes; testing and evaluation will take place over the next year.

“We’re excited to add this environmentally advanced truck to our fleet,” says Jim Roach, senior vice president of parts and service for Torrance, Calif.-based American Honda. “With our truck fleet driving hundreds of thousands of miles per day, we feel this is a great opportunity for Honda to further reduce its carbon footprint.”

The hybrid truck operates much like a hybrid passenger vehicle, utilizing a parallel diesel-electric hybrid system developed by Eaton Corp. Similar to Honda’s hybrid vehicles, Peterbilt’s truck captures energy during braking and stores it in its system’s batteries. The system also improves fuel efficiency and lowers emissions by powering the heating, air conditioning and vehicle electrical systems utilizing a no-idle auxiliary power unit while the engine is off.

In addition, Honda soon will be adding a Peterbilt Class 7 medium-duty hybrid truck at its parts centers in Irving, Texas, and Alpharetta, Ga.