25 Feb 03. Oshkosh Truck Corporation [NYSE: OSK] announced during AUSA that it has received two federal grants to further develop its ProPulse(r) hybrid electric drive technology for heavy trucks. The Department of Energy, acting through its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has granted Oshkosh $4.5m to share the costs of a three-year development effort that will focus on advanced heavy hybrid propulsion systems for refuse vehicles. In addition, the Department of Defense, through the National Automotive Center and U.S. Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command, has awarded Oshkosh $500,000 in research grants for Oshkosh’s development of a ready-for-production version of its ProPulse technology in military vehicles.
“There is little doubt that hybrid electric drive technology will lead to the development of an entirely new generation of highly mobile and incredibly efficient trucks,” said Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “These grants validate the confidence we have in our ProPulse technology, and chart a course for its integration into two enormously important sectors: refuse hauling and defense trucks. We are grateful to the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense for their support of these initiatives.”
Refuse collection vehicles have one of the most demanding duty cycles of any commercial truck. The stop-and-start nature of refuse collection contributes to an extremely inefficient use of fuel and vehicle systems. Under the NREL cost-sharing development program, Oshkosh will develop and demonstrate advanced heavy hybrid propulsion components and systems that can dramatically increase fuel economy and vehicle durability while reducing emissions for refuse applications.
Although electric drive systems have been available in cars for years, Oshkosh is a leader in the development of next-generation hybrid propulsion systems in heavy trucks. In fact, Oshkosh was the first manufacturer to introduce hybrid electric drive technology for heavy trucks when it unveiled a ProPulse-equipped heavy-payload defense truck in 2000. The ProPulse system is designed to handle the rigors of off-road military operations while maximizing fuel economy. The Department of Defense research funding will allow Oshkosh to prepare its ProPulse system for a mass production environment.
Oshkosh also showed its new wrecker vehicle which it is negotiating a sale to the US Marines and which may be offered for the UK requirement.