Obama previews plug-in hybrid truck

President Barack Obama previewed an innovative plug-in hybrid electric utility truck with a power system developed by Eaton Corporation and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently. The president visited the Electric Vehicle Technical Center of Southern California Edison to view an array of advanced technology vehicles.

The plug-in hybrid truck, estimated to deliver fuel economy improvements of up to 70 percent compared with a conventionally powered truck, with corresponding reductions in harmful emissions, was developed for Southern California Edison. Eaton is in the early test phase of the plug-in system and is considering it as a potential future offering.

The plug-in hybrid truck is the first of five "boom and bucket" trucks based on a Ford F-550 chassis that will be provided by Eaton, EPRI, and Ford to public and private utility fleets in the United States for use and evaluation. In addition to fuel and emissions savings while the truck is on the road, additional energy savings are available by using the electric side of the system to power ancillary systems and tools when the truck is stopped at a worksite.

The entire system can be recharged by plugging it into a standard 120- or 240-volt electrical outlet. Once charged, the battery energy can be used to supplement engine power and also provide power to operate auxiliaries such as the utility truck boom.

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