ANN ARBOR, MI - The City of Ann Arbor's deployment of four hydraulic-hybrid recycling trucks in its fleet last year has resulted in fuel savings and lower maintenance costs, according to the Clean Energy Coalition.
American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding was provided through the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit Clean Energy Coalition, which manages both the Ann Arbor Clean Cities coalitions. The funding helped defray the incremental costs when the City purchased the hydraulic hybrid recycling trucks in July 2010.
The trucks are built using a technology pioneered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory. The technology uses hydraulic tanks to store energy that would otherwise be lost to braking. The stored energy is then used to power the vehicle when it moves again. This regeneration of braking energy improves fuel economy by 15 percent, saving the City almost 1,800 gallons of fuel each year.
The hydraulic regenerative braking system also led to savings in brake maintenance by increasing the life span of brakes. Normally, brakes are replaced several times per year, but in the year that Ann Arbor has been using the trucks, the brakes have not had to be replaced. This resulted in an annual savings of almost $12,000, the Clean Energy Coalition stated.
Sean Reed, executive director at Clean Energy Coalition, noted, "Ann Arbor's success has generated a lot of interest from neighboring municipal refuse fleets. Municipal leaders are drawn to the operations savings and potential to contribute to improved air quality for their communities." Reed indicated that even greater vehicle efficiency can be achieved through driver training and education, which the Clean Energy Coalition plans to coordinate with Ann Arbor and Detroit in 2012.
Other municipalities that have purchased vehicles that use hydraulic hybrid technology include the City of Spokane, Wash., the City of Columbus, Ohio, the City of New Haven, Conn., and the City of Manteca, Calif.