Eaton is signing up independent service partners to begin installing retrofit versions of its Hydraulic Launch Assist, or HLA, hybrid power system for refuse trucks later this year.

"By retrofitting existing trucks, Eaton is giving our customers a best-of-both-worlds scenario," says Seth Deutsch, manager - Hybrid Market Planning. "Until now, our refuse market customers in North America have been frustrated in their efforts to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions in fleets of newer trucks with many years of service left in them. They have been asking for a hybrid solution that does not require the purchase of a new truck, and we're pleased to deliver the retrofit option."

The Eaton Hydraulic Launch Assist system is a parallel hybrid system, in which the conventional powertrain is supplemented by the addition of the hydraulic system that propels the truck forward and helps slow it down. The system is best suited for vehicles that operate in stop and go duty cycles such as refuse trucks. Benefits of the system include 20 to 30 percent improvement in fuel economy, longer brake life, and increased productivity due to the extra power the HLA system provides.

There are currently 50 HLA systems on the roads in Peterbilt refuse trucks, according to Robert Golin, market planning & business development manager for Eaton's Hybrid Power Systems Division. "They are selling like crazy now," he said, and fleets are asking for the ability retrofit the system.

The announcement came during a workshop session on hybrids during Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week in Las Vegas late last week. Golin explained that refuse customers could see a two-year payback, based on fuel savings, increased service intervals and productivity improvements.

The program will focus on Class 8 Mack refuse trucks, both rear loaders and ASLs that are no more than three years old.

Eaton is working on training and certifying service providers to become hybrid retrofitters. Some of the requirements include:
* Currently work on Class 7-8 refuse trucks and on Allison transmissions
* Currently perform brake pads and rotor replacement
* Currently stock heavy-duty transmissions
* Knowledge of mobile hydraulics, electrical/electronics and CAN
* Can provide warranty support
* Regional sales team

For more information on becoming a certified retrofit partner, e-mail Robert Golin at