BAE Systems and Caterpillar deal for heavy truck hybrid engines 31 January 2012

BAE Systems and Caterpillar Inc. have signed a 20-year deal to build an energy efficient parallel hybrid propulsion system for heavy-duty trucks.

BAE Systems is to integrate the Cat CX family of transmissions into its HybriDrive parallel hybrid diesel-electric engine, and will also establish aftermarket field services for the new propulsion system, based on Caterpillar's global service network to offer support.

The parallel HybriDrive is the same unit already installed in the hybrid 26-tonne RCV (refuse collection vehicle) powertrain, developed in partnership with Dennis Eagle, and harnessing a Volvo D7 Euro 5 diesel engine with BAE's electric machine technology.

It also builds on BAE's proven HybriDrive series-based system, which is already operational in more than 3,800 buses around the world.

The new parallel hybrid powertrain, which is said to improve fuel economy and emissions by an average 30%, is designed for heavy-duty truck applications, including pick-up, delivery, and utility vehicles, as well as trucks in the construction sector.

Steve Trichka, general manager of HybriDrive Solutions for BAE Systems, says the long-term supply agreement helps to ensure a consistent supply of transmissions from Caterpillar, as well as a long-term production pricing schedule, a warranty agreement and field service support.

"This agreement brings two industry leaders together to provide a product that will surpass marketplace expectations for cost, performance and support," states Trichka.

"Building upon our initial relationship to develop the parallel hybrid electric system, this supply agreement cements Caterpillar as a key supplier and partner on a system that will lower fuel and ownership costs and emissions for fleet owners," he adds.

"Through this alliance, our transmission will become an integral part of BAE Systems' new HybriDrive parallel system," comments Jeff Pohl, hauling and OEM drivetrains product manager for Caterpillar.

"Our driveline expertise, including planetary automatic transmission expertise, combined with BAE Systems' proven hybrid technology, will result in a seamlessly integrated product that meets performance and efficiency demands of vehicles that operate in diverse duty cycles."

BAE says that its HybriDrive parallel system will integrate with big-bore and heavy-duty diesel engines, adding that the system is suitable for vehicles from 9—36 tonnes gvw.

Trichka says that field tests conducted in spring 2011 revealed that trucks powered by the HybriDrive parallel system performed best on stop-start drive cycles, with average speeds between five and 20 mph, making it an optimal choice for refuse collection and delivery trucks.

Based on duty cycles and fuel usage, a truck fleet owner who uses the HybriDrive parallel system can expect payback within three to five years, he says.

Brian Tinham

Related Companies
BAE Systems
Caterpillar UK Ltd
Dennis-Eagle Ltd

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