Hydraulic Hybrids and Holistic Design: A New Approach to Delivery

My colleague, Mike Heskitt, Chief Operating Officer at Altair ProductDesign submitted the following blog post.

It’s good to see another example of the transportation industry adopting the RIGHT hybrid powertrain for a specific need and vehicle type. A recent article in Fleet Owner reports that UPS has purchased 40 hydraulic hybrid delivery vans partially funded through the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Clean Cities program.

For heavy vehicles with more stop-and-go driving than steady-state drive cycles, we’ve seen that hydraulic hybrids have a clear advantage over electric hybrids in relation to power recovery efficiency and lifecycle cost.

It is interesting to note that, in most cases where hybrid drivelines are introduced, manufacturers simply swap out the traditional driveline and integrate the hybrid. This process may also include engine downsizing for additional fuel-economy gains. Recognizing the vehicle weight and drive cycle plays a large part in the resulting fuel economy, we have to wonder how much more than the 35 percent improvement in fuel economy that the article references might be gained with an optimized design that reduces weight and improves system efficiencies.

Although certainly a more extreme drive cycle and higher weight, the 110 percent improvement achieved by the BUSolutions hydraulic hybrid design is far above the results obtained in any “swap out” integrations we’ve seen in the bus industry, and it is a good case in point to argue that far more gains can be made with a holistic design approach using optimization than with a simple powertrain choice alone can provide.

Royston Jones
Royston Jones

About Royston Jones

My name is Royston Jones and I have been at Altair sixteen years. I was born in the green valleys of North Wales and eventually left my village for the bright lights of South Wales; Swansea University. It was there I was eventually persuaded to help the English with their engineering and left the principality. It’s been a great thrill seeing my passion, engineering simulation, gradually increase its impact on the design process. However, a bigger thrill has been seeing Manchester United dominate English football for two decades. I enjoy seeing my boys grow up and I am excited about how engineering simulation has become a key technology in creating highly engineered; Green products.