Yosemite National Park chooses Eaton hybrid power

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Visitors to Yosemite National Park now can enjoy the pristine surroundings onboard new low-emissions fuel-friendly vehicles powered by Eaton’s hybrid electric systems. Eaton worked with the U.S. General Services Administration and Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts, which handles the majority of the park’s transportation needs, in delivering four new Class 8 tractors with the Eaton systems.

An additional seven vehicles – 37-passenger shuttle buses – are on order and awaiting delivery. “The low-speed, low-mileage and stop-and-go duty cycles at Yosemite provide the perfect operating conditions for a hybrid truck,” says Kevin Snow, chief engineer for hybrid applications at Eaton. “On top of that, the environmental and fuel consumption improvements are going to be quite substantial.”

Dan Anthonijsz, village garage manager at Yosemite for Delaware North Companies, agrees. “We are definitely realizing fuel consumption reductions, currently averaging about 6.7 miles per gallon with the tram tractors,” says Anthonijsz. “That’s a huge improvement over the one mile to the gallon that we were getting with the propane trucks that the new vehicles replaced. Also with the new vehicle, you don’t even see anything coming out of the exhaust pipes. It is a huge improvement for the environment.”

In addition, Eaton worked with park officials to install a new engine brake on a tow truck, also with an Eaton hybrid electric system, to ensure the regenerative braking function was operating properly. Regenerative braking allows the hybrid system to recover power normally lost during braking and stores the energy in batteries to provide engine-off power take-off capabilities.