The Environmental Protection Agency and United Parcel Service have partnered to develop a delivery truck that uses EPA-patented hydraulic hybrid technology. Using the new system, the UPS truck can increase fuel efficiency by 60 to 70 percent in urban driving. The technology also lowers greenhouse gas emissions by reducing carbon dioxide by 40 percent compared with the conventional UPS diesel delivery trucks.
In a statement, the EPA notes that laboratory tests show the hydraulic hybrid technology used in the EPA-UPS truck has the potential to dramatically improve fuel economy for package delivery vehicles, shuttle and transit buses, as well as refuse pickup. The lab finds that more than 1,000 gallons of fuel each year could be saved per vehicle. The EPA estimates that upfront costs for the hybrid components could be recouped in fewer than three years for a typical delivery truck. The net savings for the vehicle's lifespan could exceed $50,000 based on current fuel prices.
The EPA-UPS test vehicle features a full hydraulic hybrid powertrain and a hydraulic hybrid propulsion system integrated with the drive axle. Hydraulic motors and hydraulic hybrid tanks are used to store energy, in contrast to electric motors and batteries used in electric hybrid vehicles. Like other hybrid systems, energy saved when applying the brakes is reused to help accelerate the vehicle. The test vehicle will be used to deliver UPS packages across Michigan this year.