Eaton enhancing commercial hybrid power systems

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Updated Jun 6, 2012

Eaton Corp. on Thursday, May 31, announced a number of enhancements designed to increase the fuel economy, performance and payback of its hybrid power system for commercial vehicles, including a new high-capacity battery, a new single-phase 115-volt AC Auxiliary Power Generator (APG), a higher-capacity clutch to expand applications up to 860 lb.-ft. of torque, and a new remanufactured battery for aftermarket purchase.

At the heart of the high-capacity lithium-ion battery is new technology that employs the latest battery cell architecture. Eaton says the new design increases the fuel savings of its hybrid power system an additional 5 to 10 percent while also improving vehicle performance, more than doubles the engine-off capability of the system for jobsite operations and extends battery life.

“Not only will fleets realize greater fuel efficiency and reduced C02 emissions, but drivers will notice faster acceleration with the updated hybrid propulsion system,” says Kevin Beaty, product strategy and manufacturing operations and strategic sourcing manager, hybrid power systems, for Eaton. “The new battery is designed to allow for simplified servicing of internal components.”

The new single-phase 5-kilowatt Auxiliary Power Generator option converts high-voltage DC current from the battery to 115-volt AC current that can be used by any number of tools on the jobsite. The APG unit is more compact and 25 pounds lighter than Eaton’s previous offering, which helps increase installation flexibility.

“The new APG unit offers a soft-start function that can handle high inrush loads that require an immediate boost of power,” says Gerard DeVito, engineering director – Eaton hybrid power systems. “The APG is also a fully isolated system from the high-voltage battery, which eliminates the need for a separate isolating transformer to further reduce cost and weight.”

Both the new high-capacity battery and APG will be rolled out during the fourth quarter of this year to serve utility applications. The high-capacity battery will be available for city delivery and beverage tractor applications in the third quarter of 2012.

Eaton also is offering higher-capacity clutches designed to handle engines up to 860 lb.-ft. of torque and 300 hp, an increased torque capacity intended to result in greater vehicle performance for heavier applications, including select tandem-axle configurations.

Lastly, Eaton will begin offering a remanufactured battery in July that will provide fleets with an aftermarket battery option at a more affordable cost. “Fleets can now extend the life of their hybrid power system for a fraction of the cost of new service units,” says Beaty. “Our goal is to provide the greatest possible value to hybrid customers who want more sustainable fleets at the best possible cost.”

Eaton says its parallel-type diesel-electric hybrid power systems have collectively accumulated more than 300 million miles of service, reducing fuel consumption by more than 8 million gallons of diesel fuel and C02 emissions by more than 80,000 metric tons. More than 6,000 of Eaton’s hybrid systems are in use today on city buses, school buses, package delivery trucks, beverage delivery trucks, refrigerated delivery trucks, refuse and recycling trucks, utility vehicles and other commercial applications.