Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation Introduces Hybrid-Electric Retrofit Program

GAFFNEY, S.C. – July 27, 2009 – Furthering its commitment to provide environmentally conscious, alternatively fueled vehicles to the commercial walk-in van market, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) has launched a new program to retrofit older walk-in vans with new hybrid-electric systems.



FCCC began the retrofit program in November 2008 and has retrofitted almost 100 MT-45 walk-in van chassis. Retrofitting is less expensive than purchasing brand new vehicles for companies interested in implementing hybrid-electric technology into their operations, thereby lowering emissions, increasing fuel economy and reducing their carbon footprint.



The retrofit program involves removing old powertrain equipment including engines, transmissions, fuel tanks, air intake system, cooling system and drive shafts, and replacing them with a 2007 Cummins® ISB 200 hp engine and Eaton® hybrid-electric system.



The program also transcends multiple emission levels and brings units up to the 2007 EPA certification level with the addition of the hybrid-electric system.



“Rather than buying a new body and new chassis, FCCC is retrofitting older, traditional diesel-powered MT-45 walk-in van chassis with a new hybrid-electric system, allowing for a significant cost savings,” said Jonathan Randall, director of sales and marketing for FCCC. “We came up with a way to utilize hybrid-electric technology on older units that did not have EPA ’07 engines and provide an innovative and successful solution.”



FCCC’s hybrid-electric chassis, which features a diesel engine coupled with an electric motor/generator and lithium-ion batteries, works in line with the engine and transmission, enabling seamless operation incorporating electric and diesel power.



Lithium-ion batteries capture and store energy during the regenerative braking phase of the vehicle’s operation. The batteries are constantly charged through the operation of the diesel engine, eliminating the need to plug into an electrical source. Both the engine and the electric motor can provide power to the drivetrain. The sophisticated hybrid supervisory controller selects the most efficient mode of operation – either diesel or electric – depending upon current operating conditions and driver demand.



“FCCC was the first chassis manufacturer to bring hybrid-electric vehicles to the commercial market and has been manufacturing them for over a decade,” said Randall. “As part of Daimler Trucks North America, FCCC has a robust lineage and history of engineering alternative-fuel chassis for the commercial vehicle industry. This program is a great example of the extra mile FCCC will go to find cost-effective, innovative solutions that enable our customers to experience the true benefits of our alternatively fueled products.”



FCCC is also completing the introduction of the EPA 2010 emission certification with the addition of the hybrid-electric system and will be positioned to offer this configuration on January 1, 2010.



The purchase of a hybrid-electric MT-45 chassis, which is EPA-certified in all 50 states, enables customers to be eligible for substantial federal tax credits. Please visit the Internal Revenue Service Web site at www.irs.gov for more information.



Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation manufactures premium chassis for the motor-home, delivery walk-in van, and school bus and shuttle bus markets. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.



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