Wal-Mart testing Hybrid Diesel Trucks

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When it comes to class-8 trucks, Wal-Mart announced that it plans on doing some tests on two different types of hybrid options.  They also plan on testing some alternative fuel options as well.  Why? They want to improve the fuel efficiency of their fleet.  In the past few years, they have been able to increase their efficiency by 25 percent and they are working to double this amount within the next few years.

The problem is that the class-8 trucks they use are huge.  In fact, they have 10 tires, three axles, and weight more than 30,000 pounds a piece.  Currently these trucks are being used by Wal-Mart to help distribute their products.  However, they are not testing a couple different hybrid options.  One is available from Eaton and Peterbilt and the other comes from ArvinMeritor.

A look at the two systems gives you a pretty good idea at which one is going to work the best.  The Peterbilt Eaton option should increase efficiency by about 7%; however, the ArvinMeritor option is expected to add an increase of about 25%, so it definitely sounds like one option is looking better than the other.

The Hybrid System by ArvinMeritor

This particular diesel-electric hybrid is going to be tested by Wal-Mart in the Detroit area.  This special hybrid is supposed to be the first one like it and it has a special system that provides electrical and mechanical propulsion.  At low speeds when there is high demand, the electric motor kicks in.  After the truck is moving, the electric motor and the mechanical side both work together until they reach optimum speed.  The energy from braking is also used within this hybrid system.

The Hybrid System by Eaton and Peterbilt

This particular system is quite different than the one by ArvinMeritor.  It has idle reduction, and it has a special hybrid transmission that is automated that has a generator that is motor and electric.  When you are going uphill or starting out after stopping, the electric motor will kick in.  The company plans on testing out this option in the Washington DC area, Houston, Southern California, and in Atlanta.

The Alternative Fuel Options

Several of the fleet that is owned by Wal-Mart is going to be retrofitted to use alternative fuels.  Some will end up using a special grease fuel that has been reclaimed.  This grease that is used is going to come from Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart stores.  Another option is going to be used in Arizona, where a special biodiesel will be used that comes from the waste of cooking oil.  Then there were will five trucks that they test by using liquefied natural gas.

Wal-Mart is taking some steps to increase the efficiency of their fleet.  They want to develop new technologies and figure out if they can help decrease the environmental footprint of the company.  These technologies have been tested in 2009 and hopefully data on how they worked will be available soon.

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