DTNA donates hybrid truck to Forgotten Harvest

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Forgotten Harvest, Metro Detroit’s only mobile food rescue organization, on Tuesday, June 9, took delivery of its first hybrid-powered truck. The Class 7 Freightliner — donated by Daimler Trucks North America, Daimler Financial Services and Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies — will enable the organization to rescue 850,000 additional pounds of fresh food on an annual basis at a 30 percent fuel savings.

Susan Goodell, executive director of Forgotten Harvest, was presented the keys to the 2009 M2e Hybrid Freightliner diesel-electric truck by Klaus Entenmann, president and chief executive officer of Daimler Financial Services, and Chris Patterson, recently retired president and CEO of DTNA, at Forgotten Harvest’s Metro Detroit facility.

Ron Ricci, president of Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies of Rice Lake, Wis., donated the 20-foot fiberglass refrigerated truck body with ElectriMax all-electric refrigeration that will keep the food fresh during deliveries to homeless shelters and social service agencies that feed the hungry throughout Metro Detroit.

“This generous donation by our friends at Daimler Financial, Daimler Trucks and Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies is a leap forward in advancing our mission of reducing hunger and waste,” Goodell says. “It will not only improve our operating efficiency by keeping fuel costs down, it will also allow us to direct more donated dollars to distributing food in a way that protects the environment.”

The 31,000-pound Class 7 truck is the fifth truck donated by Daimler Financial Services and DTNA and aftermarket body builders in the past four years, bringing Forgotten Harvest’s growing fleet to 21 vehicles.

Like a hybrid car, the M2e Hybrid Freightliner performs best with consistent stop-and-go applications. Launch and acceleration are aided by the 60 hp electric motor, then with increased demand from the throttle, it blends combined diesel and electric power as needed. During braking, the braking power restores the battery charge. DTNA says the hybrid system has been proven to increase brake life by more than 100 percent in urban delivery service.

Combined with a thermal-efficient truck body and all-electric refrigeration solution by Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies, the new hybrid truck will contribute a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency over a standard powertrain Class 7 truck and body with traditional diesel-powered refrigeration, according to DTNA.

“There is a tremendous need to feed the hungry all over the United States, but especially here in Michigan where the economy has taken its toll on those most in need,” Entenmann says. Patterson agreed, saying “At Daimler, we welcome the opportunity to be able to contribute to the extraordinary work being done on a daily basis by Forgotten Harvest.”

In 2008, Forgotten Harvest rescued and delivered 9.5 million pounds of prepared and perishable food to emergency food providers across metro Detroit. This year, due to the staggering increase of people seeking food assistance, the organization is on target to distribute more than 12 million pounds. The food — which is donated by grocers, wholesalers, farmers and other food providers — is delivered same-day and free of charge to soup kitchens, shelters and pantries in the tri-county area.