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Eaton Is Enhancing Its Hybrids

June 1, 2012 in Hybrids by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Eaton last week disclosed enhancements to increase the fuel economy, performance and payback of its parallel hybrid electric offerings for commercial vehicles.

The improvements include a new high capacity battery, a new 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.

Eaton is offering hybrid driveline and accessory improvements applicable to utility trucks, urban delivery and beverage tractors, and other vehicles.

“At the heart of the high-capacity lithium ion battery is new technology that employs the latest battery cell architecture,” Eaton says, boosting hybrid vehicle fuel efficiency by 5 to 10% while improving performance and more than doubling the engine-off capability for job-site operations – all while extending 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,” Kevin Beaty, Eaton hybrid power systems product strategy and manufacturing operations and strategic sourcing manager said in a release. “The new battery is designed to allow for simplified servicing of internal components.”

Eaton has previously emphasized a diversity of battery suppliers and is believed to use Hitachi.

Also to be introduced in the fourth quarter is a new single-phase 5-kilowatt APG that converts high-voltage DC current from the battery to 115-volt AC current for powering tools and other equipment on the job. It is more compact and 25 pounds lighter than Eaton’s previous APG offering, easing installation.

‘Our Goal Is to Provide the Greatest Possible value’

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

The high capacity battery will be available for city delivery and beverage tractor applications in the third quarter of 2012.

The remanufactured battery will be available in July.

“Fleets can now extend the life of their hybrid power system for a fraction of the cost of new service units,” Beaty said. “Our goal is to provide the greatest possible value to hybrid customers who want more sustainable fleets at the best possible cost.”

Eaton is also offering higher capacity clutches that can handle engines up to 860 lb-ft of torque and 300 HP. “This increased torque capacity results in greater vehicle performance for heavier applications, including select tandem axle configurations.”

Vehicles with Eaton 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,” the company says. More than 6,000 Eaton hybrid drives are in service city buses, school buses, package delivery trucks, beverage delivery trucks, refrigerated delivery trucks, refuse and recycling trucks, utility vehicles and other commercial applications.

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