Peterbilt, Rush Show Customers the Green in California

April 01, 2009

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Peterbilt, in conjunction with Rush Truck Centers, held its largest "green" event ever in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, where approximately 100 fleet customers attended to learn more about hybrids and alternative-fueled vehicles.
The Model 320 with Hydraulic Launch Assist and a Model 386 Hybrid that's still in development were two highlights of the Peterbilt/Rush Truck Centers Go Green event.
The Model 320 with Hydraulic Launch Assist and a Model 386 Hybrid that's still in development were two highlights of the Peterbilt/Rush Truck Centers Go Green event.

"There are a lot of unknowns out there as we go forward with the green movement in this country … and [trucking's] role in that movement," noted Rusty Rush, president and CEO of Rush Enterprises. Despite the unknowns, however, he emphasized that it is important to move forward, for reasons such as improving air quality, reducing dependence on foreign oil, improving fuel economy, taking care of the environment, and improving trucking's image.

The event, at Angels Stadium, featured presentations from Rush, Peterbilt, Cummins, Eaton, Westport Innovations and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

"Green's probably the hottest topic in today's world, it's on everybody's mind," said Jim Thor, senior vice president for Rush Enterprises. "But what is green?" Whether it's hybrid trucks, fuel-efficient trucks, U.S. EPA Smartway-certified trucks, alternative fueled trucks, idle-reduction technologies, Peterbilt offers them all, he said.

Landon Sproull, Peterbilt chief engineer, announced during his presentation that he had just received word that the Model 385 has been approved to be Smartway certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Model 387 and 386 aerodynamic Peterbilt trucks were already Smartway-certified.

One of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle is knowing how to take advantage of the various tax breaks, grants and other incentive programs, available at federal, state and regional levels, in order to offset the higher cost of these technologies for the end user, Thor said, and Rush Enterprises in fact has hired some consultants to help it keep on top of the subject and be able to help walk customers through the process.

The event also featured displays of "green" trucks and five different models available for ride and drives. The ride-and-drive trucks included a Model 335 Hybrid day cab, a Model 320 CNG cab and chassis, a Model 320 Hybrid automated side loader with Peterbilt's new Hydraulic Launch Assist technology, a Model 386 LNG day cab, and a Model 386 hybrid 63-inch Unibilt UltraCab sleeper equipped with an Eaton Electric Hybrid Drive System that is currently being tested by Wal-Mart.

That Model 386 marks a new area for development of commercial truck hybrid products, which up till now have focused on medium-duty applications such as utility trucks, pick up and delivery and waste management. There are six of these Peterbilt/Eaton units currently in field tests.

"We're taking the same proven Eaton Hybrid components, but we're having to put additional battery storage and additional features to power HVAC and sleeper amenities," Sproull said. The company is targeting an up to 15 percent fuel savings, part of which comes from idle reduction. Sproull said he anticipates the Model 386 Hybrid could be commercially available sometime in 2010.

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