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Mirror Mirror on the Floor: Our New HHVs
UPS hydraulic hybrid vehicle

When I wanted to see what makes UPS’s new hydraulic hybrid vehicle (HHV) special, I just had to look down. At its ignition ceremony on October 11 in Laurel, MD marking the delivery of the HHVs, there were mirrors on the ground to reflect the image of the new package delivery truck’s energy-saving system. People could inspect this alternative fuel vehicle’s (AFV) workings up close without donning a pair of coveralls and sliding underneath. Personally, I was glad for that convenience.

At first, it was a bit disconcerting to see what appears to be part of an engine in the ground until reminding yourself that it’s the mirror image of the hydraulic drive unit. The HHV works similar to a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) using a hydraulic high-pressure accumulator instead of an electric motor and batteries. Pressure generated by the movement of hydraulic fluid keeps the engine from kicking on. The more the driver uses the brakes, the more energy is stored. Plus, the hydraulic drive system’s regenerative braking reduces brake pad wear.

UPS hydraulic hybrid vehicleWith fuel prices on the rise, knowing the HHV can improve fuel economy up to 35 percent is fabulous. The reduction of up to 30 percent CO2 emissions over traditional diesel-powered vehicles that use automatic transmissions is another thing about the technology I find attractive.

Like the HEV, the HHV works best in urban environments with a lot of stopping and starting—that makes it a good fit in the greater Baltimore area and Atlanta, where the 40 new HHVs will be put on the road.

The HHV deployment was enabled in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, which is focused on advancing the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security by supporting local actions to reduce petroleum consumption in transportation. This AFV was developed by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) and Parker Hannifin Corporation.

Category: Environment, Sustainability, UPS News
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