Quietly Eliminates Hydraulic Hybrid, But Continues to Support It,
Sources Cite Rise of Compressed Natural Gas as Reason for Decision
Eaton Corp is emphasizing parallel electric drives in the hybrid vehicle sector, having quietly withdrawn its HLA (Hydraulic Launch Assist) parallel hydraulic hybrid drive from the market. Crane Carrier and Peterbilt were among the OEMs that placed HLA vehicles, and Eaton says it will continue to support them.
“The decision,” says one former customer, “was based on decreasing production volume and demand as CNG technology continued widespread adoption as a lower cost alternative to reducing rising diesel fuel costs.”
Peterbilt concurs, mentioning liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas as alternatives to the Eaton hydraulic hybrid. “While the HLA system is no longer available, Peterbilt continues to offer fuel-saving options for its Model 320, such as LNG and CNG configurations of the Cummins Westport ISL-G and ISX12G,” a spokesman said recently.
Thousands of Hybrid Electrics
Eaton continues to offer electric hybrid drives. “Our patented electric hybrid power system uses a parallel configuration that maintains the vehicle’s conventional drivetrain layout and uses patented controls to blend engine torque with electric torque to move the vehicle,” the company says.
“The system recovers power normally lost during braking and stores the energy in batteries and can provide engine-off power take off and work site capability for those needing hydraulic operations and an auxiliary electric power source from the vehicle.
‘We Will Provide Support and Service’
“As an additional benefit, should the hybrid electric system go off-line, conventional engine-powered operation continues.”
Some 6,500 Eaton hybrids are in operation worldwide. They have logged more than 400 million miles of service.
“We have systems on a variety of vehicles throughout the world,” a spokesman told F&F Friday. “Regarding the HLA system, we will provide support and service for those units that are in the field.”
Fleets & Fuels first reported on Eaton’s HLA drive just shy of a decade ago, when the technology was being promoted for pickup trucks (F&F, September 29, 2003).
Contact information is only available to premium subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.
Source: published reports with Fleets & Fuels follow-up