Freightliner develops hybrid hazmat truck

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Freightliner Trucks, together with Eaton Corp., announced the development of a Freightliner Business Class M2e Hybrid truck equipped with an Eaton hybrid electric drivetrain system. Created for Pennington Gas Service, this truck marks the first application of the Eaton parallel electric hybrid system to a hazardous material delivery application.

Pennington Gas Service delivers propane primarily to residential customers in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. A longtime proponent of environmentally-friendly solutions, company partner Keith Pennington became interested in the Freightliner Business Class M2e Hybrid after test-driving one at The Work Truck Show.

“I’d never seen a hybrid truck like this for the propane industry, so I decided to find out more,” Pennington says. “Having been a Freightliner customer for almost 10 years, I knew they’d do everything possible to make my vision a reality.”

Pennington’s new truck is equipped with the Eaton parallel electric hybrid system, which is designed to enable the truck to operate using the diesel engine alone, or in combination with the hybrid electric motor; the hybrid electric motor also is designed to provide additional power to launch the truck, further improving fuel economy in high stop-and-go operations. Pennington anticipates reducing fuel usage and emissions by up to 30 percent.

“The ability to turn off the diesel engine and use the hybrid system while pumping propane to our customers is ideal,” Pennington says. “Not only does it make economical and environmental sense, but a quiet zero-emissions pumping operation is safer for the residential neighborhoods where we do the majority of our business.”

To receive instantaneous feedback on how the hybrid system is faring while on the road, Pennington Gas and Freightliner Trucks have partnered with Telogis, a provider of enterprise fleet-tracking software.

“Pennington’s proposal for a hybrid hazmat delivery truck was certainly a challenge, but after tapping our engineers and partners such as Eaton Corp. and Signature Truck Systems, we knew that we could make it happen,” says David Bryant, vocational sales manager of hybrids for Freightliner Trucks, based in Portland, Ore.