This project is focused on applying clean vehicle technologies to heavy weight vehicles. For the past five years, as a member of the Department of Energy’s partnership for the next generation vehicle (PGNV), we researched ways to improve the efficiency of sport utility vehicles. We are now ready to extend this research to heavier vehicles such as class 8 tractor-trailers and refuse trucks. The mild hybrid technology resident in our two hybrid test platforms is especially suitable for the Northwest’s unique combination of topography, weather and industries. The ultra-capacitor energy system in our 2002 hybrid electric Ford Explorer is not affected by temperature extremes, has a life span comparable to the stock vehicle, and is maintainable in a rural environment.
Our 1989 hybrid hydraulic Ford F350 is equally robust with technology that is both familiar and supportable in almost any community nation-wide. Both the American Trucking Association and Latah Sanitation, Inc. are interested in applying these technologies to trucks in their fleets.
Our student group is equally interested. A diverse, multi-disciplinary group composed of freshman through doctoral candidates, our advanced vehicle concepts team is highly motivated. They enjoy the learning, experience, and the satisfaction of making a difference. For this research project, they have proposed a list of activities that address the needs of our customers and make use of three existing test platforms: hybrid electric vehicle, hybrid hydraulic vehicle, and diesel test engine. With these three platforms, they propose to research and demonstrate technologies that will improve fuel economy and reduce tailpipe emissions. In addition to the research, design, development and testing, they also plan to educate others through outreach events and professional publications.