It may not have a name yet, but you’re still going to be hearing a lot more about it.
The world’s first natural gas hybrid commercial truck is expected to be available for sale in the U.S. by February 2016.
California-based companies Greenkraft and Efficient Drivetrains Inc. (EDI) worked together with a state grant to create a class four, compressed natural gas (CNG) hybrid truck that has triple the fuel mileage of a comparable CNG-only truck.
The JAC retrofitted cab-over was unveiled in early October in Downey, Ca. at an event hosted by CALSTART, a non-profit consortium of 140 member companies, fleets and agencies seeking to improve alternative transportation technology.
The plug-in hybrid, which has yet to receive a model name, is undergoing testing which will end this month. Pending certification, the vehicle is expected to go on sale by early February through Greenkraft.
“The Greenkraft CNG logistics truck in a plug-in hybrid configuration further demonstrates the versatility of EDI Drive technology, enabling the seamless replacement of the original mechanical system with EDI’s straightforward, clean power drive system,” says EDI CEO Joerg Ferchau.
“We’re thrilled to expand our solution offering and will continue to provide fleet operators with cost and performance-optimized options for electrifying their fleets.”
Lithium batteries on the truck enable it to drive 40 miles under electric power. In combination with the CNG engine, the full range is 300 miles. The plug-in charger operates on either 110 or 220 volts. Charge time for 220 volts is roughly five to six hours.
EDI Managing Partner Kristen Ferchau said the truck can be built to accept other fuels besides CNG, such as propane and diesel. Their first truck was configured to run on CNG given its lower emissions.
Because of its reduced emissions, the hybrid truck qualifies for state and federal initiatives which will off-set its cost.
EDI reports that its hybrid technology tripled the miles per gallon equivalent (GGE) of the baseline CNG-powered Greenkraft truck from approximately 9 miles per GGE to 27.
The collaboration between EDI and Greenkraft has empowered both companies to better meet mandated emission reduction goals.
“We’re very excited about our new technology partnership with Efficient Drivetrains,” says Greenkraft President George Gemayel. “The collaboration on zero-emissions capable vehicles will be a strong offering as the commercial trucking industry battles to reduce emissions.”
EDI, based in Milpitas, Ca., offers a variety of hybrid powertrains. They built hybrid utility vehicles for California-based utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Besides providing electric power to hydraulic lifts, the trucks can supply homes with temporary power as technicians service power lines.
Greenkraft, based in Santa Ana, Ca., offers alternative commercial forward cab trucks and alternative fuel systems on various vehicles in classes 3,4,5,6 and 7. In addition to CNG and plug-in hybrid electric models, Greenkraft also produces pure electric and propane gas vehicles.