Promoting Hybrid Development for Heavy Duty Trucks

Fuel efficient hybrid technology isn’t just for the environmentally-minded, energy conscious consumer. The U.S. military has shown increasing interest in finding ways to lower their operations’ costs and energy needs, and hybrid electric trucks could be a future part of that effort.

WestStart-Calstart signed a contract with the U.S. Army National Automotive Center (NAC) to accelerate the organizations’ joint program the national Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF). The US$4.4 million contract will support Calstart’s work in two main areas, heavy-duty hybrid truck deployment and dual-use technology development, and facilitate the commercialization of hybrid drivelines that would be used in both military and commercial vehicles. In the next six months, funds from contract will be used to help buy-down the cost of pre-production hybrid electric work trucks that will be deployed and tested by truck fleets nationwide. In addition to the HTUF program, the award will also be used to support the Dual-Use Advanced Transportation Technology Initiative, which is also a joint effort between the two entities. Through the initiative, WestStart-Calstart and the NAC will work together to identify, evaluate, and develop advanced transportation technologies that could benefit both the commercial and military sectors. “This program will support the Army’s goal of developing future trucks that will be more energy efficient and capable of providing remote power generation. To have a strong military truck program, we need a strong U.S. commercial technology base,” said John Boesel, President and CEO of WestStart-Calstart. Hybrid technology can significantly improve fuel economy and reduce harmful emissions from medium and heavy-duty trucks, according to CALSTART. There are already more than 10 different U.S. manufacturers of heavy-duty hybrid propulsion systems.

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