The future of vehicle propulsion was showcased in New York City recently when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and UPS unveiled the most fuel-efficient and cost effective delivery vehicle in the world.
While it’s not uncommon to see the well known brown trucks of UPS traversing the busy streets of New York City, all eyes were on one very special vehicle equipped with an EPA-patented hydraulic hybrid propulsion system developed in concert with leading automotive engineering firm, FEV Engine Technology, Inc. (FEV), whose U.S. Technology Center is located in Auburn Hills, Mich.
At a June 27, 2006 EPA press event, Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg, along with UPS’ Mike Ferony, announced the initiative that is in keeping with the EPA mandate to accelerate the pace of environmental protection while maintaining the nation’s economic competitiveness by showcasing the UPS beta hydraulic hybrid truck.
The hydraulic hybrid technology can increase fuel efficiency by 60 – 70 percent in urban driving, the most demanding on a vehicle’s fuel economy. It also lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared to UPS’s conventional diesel delivery trucks.
“FEV has developed a deep knowledge in the field of hybrid technology through its work with traditional automakers,” said Gary Rogers, president of FEV. “We are proud to have contributed to the development and technical success of this project in support of the EPA.”
FEV worked with the EPA to design, simulate and analyze the hydraulic systems and components, and fabricated the powertrain system and components that are used to store energy, in contrast to electric motors and batteries used in electric hybrid vehicles.
Results of testing and analysis show that this technology has the potential to save more than 1,000 gallons of fuel each year in delivery and other service vehicle applications. The EPA estimates that upfront costs for the hybrid components could be recouped in fewer than three years, an improvement over other hybrid technologies.
FEV provided technical engineering support under contract to EPA for its Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA), which Congress established to facilitate technology transfer of patented inventions from national laboratories to industry and the marketplace. EPA’s CRADA partners for this effort include Eaton Corporation, UPS, International Truck and Engine Corporation, and the National Automotive Center – US Army. Other major technical support was also provided by Southwest Research Institute.
In addition to the UPS project, FEV is working with the EPA on a number of low emission and fuel efficient technology projects under the EPA’s Clean Automotive Technology programs, said Rogers.
“Under the current environment of fuel supply instability and national security, these programs are appropriately directed toward reducing our dependence on foreign oil and supporting the U.S. automotive industry as it explores cost effective, fuel efficient technologies,” said Rogers.