Freightliner Custom Chassis touts hybrid-electric retrofit program

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Furthering its commitment to provide environmentally-conscious alternatively-fueled vehicles to the commercial walk-in van market, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. has launched a new program to retrofit older walk-in vans with new hybrid-electric systems.

FCCC — which says it began the retrofit program in November 2008 and has retrofitted almost 100 MT-45 walk-in van chassis — says retrofitting is less expensive than purchasing brand new vehicles for companies interested in implementing hybrid-electric technology into their operations, thereby lowering emissions, increasing fuel economy and reducing their carbon footprint.

The retrofit program involves removing old powertrain equipment including engines, transmissions, fuel tanks, air intake system, cooling system and driveshafts, and replacing them with a 2007 Cummins ISB 200 hp engine and Eaton hybrid-electric system. The program also transcends multiple emission levels and brings units up to the 2007 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certification level with the addition of the hybrid-electric system.

“Rather than buying a new body and new chassis, FCCC is retrofitting older, traditional diesel-powered MT-45 walk-in van chassis with a new hybrid-electric system, allowing for a significant cost savings,” says Jonathan Randall, director of sales and marketing for FCCC, based in Gaffney, S.C. “We came up with a way to utilize hybrid-electric technology on older units that did not have EPA ’07 engines and provide an innovative and successful solution.”

FCCC says it also is completing the introduction of the EPA 2010 emissions certification with the addition of the hybrid-electric system and will be positioned to offer this configuration on Jan. 1, 2010. The purchase of a hybrid-electric MT-45 chassis, which is EPA-certified in all 50 states, enables customers to be eligible for federal tax credits. For more information, go to www.irs.gov.