Freightliner LLC Hybrid Program Featured in Stanford University Case Study

DALLAS, TEXAS – August 24, 2006 – The efforts of Freightliner LLC to bring diesel hybrid electric engines to market as an alternative for applications such as delivery vans and utility vehicles has generated an economic case study by researchers at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

The case study highlights efforts by Freightliner LLC, Eaton Corporation and FedEx Express to build a fleet of delivery vans powered by environmentally friendly diesel-electric hybrids. By bringing hybrid electric powertrains to the market, Freightliner will provide considerable benefits, such as: significant gains in fuel economy, reduction in in-use emissions, reduction in noise pollution and engine idling on utility work trucks and walk-in vans.

“We have been working on diesel-electric hybrid programs since 2001 and are pleased with our efforts so far in helping achieve better fuel economy for the delivery and utility markets,” said Elmar Boeckenhoff, senior vice president of engineering and technology, Freightliner LLC. “These successful efforts have been recognized by FedEx Express in the market place and are now detailed by Stanford University in this business case study.”

The Stanford University Case Study, which was published earlier this year, details the history of FedEx Express’s partnership with Freightliner LLC, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation and Eaton Corporation – the key developers of the hybrid E700 FedEx Express truck. FedEx Express chose these companies over other manufacturers to build the high-tech delivery vehicles in 2002.

The pre-production test vehicle developed by Freightliner LLC, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation and Eaton exceeded FedEx’s requirements for the program. The test vehicle reduced particulate matter emissions by 93 percent, oxides of nitrogen emissions by 54 percent and increased fuel efficiency by 45 percent.

Nearly 20 pilot vehicles were placed into operation in 2004 outfitted with MBE 900 engines. From these pilot vehicles, Freightliner LLC has gained a tremendous amount of insight into benefits and additional uses for hybrid powertrains.

With the success of the pre-production and pilot vehicles, FedEx has added 75 hybrid vehicles to its delivery fleet recently. The new hybrids will be placed in New York City and elsewhere and all will be built by Freightliner LLC, Freightliner Custom Chassis and Eaton.

The hybrid electric powertrain in the E700 effectively combines a diesel engine and electric motor to power the vehicle. A computer determines the most efficient combination, depending on operating conditions and driver demand.

Furthermore, the system works similarly to hybrid gasoline-electric engines available in the passenger car market today.

The electric motor starts the vehicle in motion and the diesel engine provides torque as needed or when the system’s batteries need to be recharged. The high-tech batteries capture and store energy during braking, providing a source of stored electrical power for the motor during future acceleration. All electric charging of the battery is provided by the hybrid electric powertrain, and no external electrical infrastructure, such as power cord or electrical outlet, is needed.

The Stanford University case study charts the history of the E700’s development and suggests a strong future for the technology. In fact, the study says FedEx believes the E700 could eventually replace the 30,000 W700 medium-duty trucks in the next 10 years.

“From an environmental standpoint, the use of hybrid diesel engines could save anywhere from 10 percent to more than 30 percent in fuel depending on application and driving conditions,” explained Boeckenhoff. “While our primary targets are walk-in vans, utility vehicles and potentially school buses, among other commercial vehicles, it’s only a matter of time before hybrid technology makes it into the rest of our product line. Our hybrid diesel-electric vehicles will influence even heavy-duty truck development.”

For additional information regarding the Stanford Graduate Business Case Study, the number of the study is “SI82” and the complete title is “FedEx and Environmental Defense: Building a Hybrid Delivery Fleet.”

Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner produces and markets Class 5-8 vehicles and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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