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Parker Sees Hydraulic Hybrid Sales Surge

June 19, 2012 in Fleet Order, Hydraulic Hybrid by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Better Performance and Pricing Promised for Coming Year

Parker Hannifin’s RunWise brand series hydraulic hybrid drivetrain has been performing even better than expected in Autocar E3 refuse trucks, prompting the company to predict a sales surge, to three figures, for its new financial year commencing July 1.

This Autocar E3 truck with fuel- and brake-saving RunWise hydraulic hybrid driveline by Parker Hannifin in Seymour, Ind. is among the newest of approximately 50 such vehicles now in service, including early, pre-production units. Parker anticipates placing about 100 more of the trucks during the new financial year beginning July 1.

A drive to cut the costs of key components like accumulators will benefit buyers too, says Shane Terblanche, hybrid drive systems GM.

“The results far exceed our original expectations,” Terblanche says. Parker Hannifin hoped that real-world tests would prove fuel efficiency gains of 47%. Instead, “We are seeing as high as 51% in certain fleet applications,” namely refuse fleet use. As recently as March, Parker affirmed 43%.

One Brake Job Instead of 50

Initial trials of RunWise-drive Autocar trucks with three south Florida fleets – in Miami, Miami-Dade and Hialeah – have led to more sales there (F&F, March 26), as well as to hydraulic hybrid truck placements in Panama City, Fla., Austin and College Station, Texas, Cary, N.C. and Seymour, Ind.

Counting pre-production vehicles for south Florida, approximately 50 RunWise hydraulic hybrid trucks are in service. “We should deploy another 100 units over the next financial year,” Terblanche says.

In addition to the fuel savings, data is coming in on reduced maintenance costs, especially brakes, Terblanche says. Refuse truck operators normally perform four brake jobs per vehicle per year, he told F&F. Parker Hannifin hoped to stretch the interval to two or three years. Measurements of brake drum wear, however, now indicate that the interval could exceed seven years, or “once in a lifetime of a vehicle,” Terblanche says. That’s one brake job instead of nearly 50 (figuring four per year for 12 years).

Key components of Parker RunWise include the primary pump, secondary drive pump/motors, accumulators, electronic controls, and Parker's proprietary Power Drive Unit (PDU). RunWise features an innovative cradle design for packaging mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical components to facilitate installation, testing, and servicing, the manufacturer says.

Parker Hannifin’s hydraulic hybrid technology is also to be tested in package delivery trucks, in which case the vehicles have two hydraulic hybrid pumps, unlike the three in the RunWise drives for refuse trucks. The technology will be evaluated by FedEx Ground, Purolator Express and UPS in Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp MT-45 walk-in vans.

UPS, working with U.S. Department Energy support, is to get 40 of the 48 FCCC trucks.

Leasing Is Available Now Too

Also supporting the sales initiative is a new, capital-conserving lease program with Wells Fargo Equipment Finance. “Leasing allows [fleets] to better manage their cash flow and the reduction in fuel consumption, brake maintenance and productivity gains can help offset the cost of the technology,” Terblanche said when the program was announced (F&F, May 7).

Parker is working hard to reduce the cost of its hydraulic hybrid drives, Terblanche adds, making for an even more attractive value proposition for fleet customers. The design of the hydraulic accumulator, which stores braking energy inside a pressure vessel with an internal bladder, is being refined, he says.

“Customers can look forward to improved performance and reduced costs,” Terblanche says.

Parker’s accumulator shells are supplied by Lincoln Composites, best known for Type IV all-composite compressed natural gas fuel cylinders.

Smaller engines? Not yet. The RunWise and package delivery hydraulic hybrid vehicles now available have the same engines as the corresponding conventional vehicles. “That’s mostly tied to EPA certifications,” Terblanche says. “If we had a four-cylinder, EPA-certified engine, we could certainly use it.”

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Source: Fleets & Fuels interview, press releases

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