The continued push for the reduction of carbon emissions in the trucking space got a boost recently as a consortium of entities unveiled plans for a number of large plug-in hybrid trucks to be used by publicly owned utilities and municipal electric companies. The planned deployment of these vehicles is part of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) electrification initiative.

The DOE, as part of $45 million dollar grant, is working with Odyne Systems, Johnson Controls, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the South Coast Air Quality Management District of California on this pilot program. Around 120 work trucks will be made into hybrids, making use of drivetrain systems developed by Odyne and powered by Johnson Controls modular lithium-ion batteries.

image via Johnson Controls
image via Johnson Controls

The hybrid vehicles taking part in the pilot will be helping those involved to develop and supply advanced plug-in hybrid and smart grid/smart charging technology for trucks over 14,000 pounds, according to Odyne. Depending on use, it is said, Odyne’s hybrid power system can enable large trucks to obtain fuel economy improvements of up to 50 percent compared to traditional diesel or gasoline engines.

The power system will also make use of a Remy HVH250 series electric motor. It is unclear where the vehicles will be deployed at first or when they will be ready for deployment, but it is likely they will see first uses in at least the Los Angeles County area and other regions of California.

The lithium batteries Johnson Controls is contributing to this project will be made at its advanced manufacturing facility in Holland, Mich.  The facility is said to have made history as the first in the United States to manufacture lithium-ion cells and complete hybrid battery systems for automobiles.

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