Peterbilt hybrid production begins this summer

Full production of Peterbilt’s medium-duty hybrids will begin this summer at its manufacturing facility in Ste. Therese, Quebec, the company announced.

Peterbilt’s Model 330 and Model 335 both feature Eaton Hybrid Power. In urban driving, the Model 330 provides up to a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy over traditional diesel trucks, said Landon Sproull, Peterbilt’s chief engineer. The Model 335 achieves 60 percent better fuel economy when configured for utility applications.

Both models are eligible for federal tax credits. The maximum $12,000 credit for Class 7 hybrids is available for the Model 335 in both utility-boom and pickup-and-delivery applications. A $6,000 credit, the maximum for Class 6 hybrids, is available for the Model 330.

Peterbilt also announced its plan for full production of the hybrid Model 320 Hydraulic Launch Assist vehicle in the fourth quarter of 2008. The low-cab-forward vehicle, for vocational stop-and-go applications such as refuse collection, uses technology developed by Eaton exclusively for Paccar. The system captures the truck’s kinetic energy during braking to assist in launching and acceleration. Besides a significant improvement in fuel economy, the technology has the potential to cut necessary brake realignments in half, Peterbilt said.

Other Peterbilt announcements included:

· A new proprietary front air leaf suspension, which offers a 20 percent improvement in ride, while maintaining the roll stiffness and handling performance of a taperleaf suspension. It will be available on Peterbilt Models 384, 386, 388 and 389 in July with full production in fall 2008.

· Peterbilt’s partnership with Cummins Westport to develop a natural gas version of its Model 386 for Wal-Mart. The units will feature the Cummins ISX engine rated at 400 to 450 horsepower and will meet 2008 EPA and CARB emission levels for soot and nitrous oxides.

· The Peterbilt ComfortClass system will be available in 63-inch sleeper configurations beginning in June. A combination of batteries and a thermal storage cooler, ComfortClass provides heating, cooling and 110-volt electrical power without running the engine for up to 10 hours.

· A new dash featuring an enhanced ergonomic instrumentation layout, enhanced visibility and Peterbilt navigation functionality will be available for all medium-duty models in July.

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