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Eaton Begins Commercial Production Of Hybrid System

Posted on August 9, 2007

Eaton Corp. said the company's medium-duty hybrid power systems are now commercially available and will be ready for customer deliveries in 2008 on the chassis of several major North American commercial vehicle manufacturers, including International Truck and Engine Corp., Kenworth Truck Co., Peterbilt Motors and Freightliner Corp. The announcement follows more than four years of development and two million miles of field-testing in North America, Europe and Asia.

"Eaton formed this business unit almost seven years ago to provide a cleaner and more fuel-efficient future for the world's commercial vehicle fleet," said James E. Sweetnam, Eaton senior vice president and president - Truck Group. "Now, we're poised to fulfill that goal with the help of our forward-looking OEM and fleet partners that share our vision."

According to Kevin Beaty, manager of Eaton's Hybrid Power Systems business unit, the company plans to produce several hundred systems in 2007. Eaton is planning to ramp-up production capacity over the next three years in order to meet customer demand and achieve economies of scale. More than 220 hybrid-powered vehicles with Eaton's advanced technology systems have been produced to date for testing and evaluation - most of which have been placed into service alongside their conventionally-powered counterparts. Vehicle configurations include package delivery vans, medium-duty delivery trucks, beverage haulers, city buses and utility repair trucks - each of which has generated significant fuel economy gains and emission reductions.

Fleet customers for Eaton hybrid power have so far included FedEx Express, UPS, Coca-Cola Enterprises, The Pepsi Bottling Group and 14 public utility fleets into which were placed 24 hybrid-powered repair trucks. Truck body builders also involved in the delivery of new vehicles include Altec Industries of Birmingham, Ala., Terex Corporation of Westport, Conn., and others. Additional testing is taking place in Europe with DAF Trucks, and in Asia with the Beiqi Foton Bus Co., one of China's largest commercial vehicle producers.

In the hybrid systems being released into production, Eaton employs a parallel-type diesel-electric hybrid architecture with Eaton's Fuller UltraShift automated transmission. It incorporates an electric motor/generator between the output of an automated clutch and input of the transmission. The system recovers energy normally lost during braking and stores the energy in batteries. When electric torque is blended with engine torque, the stored energy is used to improve fuel economy and vehicle performance for a given speed or used to operate the vehicle with electric power only. The system can also be designed to provide energy for use during engine-off worksite operations, further reducing noise, emissions and fuel costs.

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