Earlier this month AmeriPride Services Inc., one of the largest uniform and linen supply companies in North America, took delivery of its first truck that uses a fuel-efficient hydraulic hybrid. The vehicle, a 2014 Ford F59 chassis with a Morgan Olson Route Star walk-in van body, will be put into delivery service in one of its Canadian Linen branches in Toronto. AmeriPride, Minnetonka, Minn., selected Lightning Hybrids to provide the hybrid systems that are expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption, reduce brake maintenance costs and cut emissions. AmeriPride provides linen, uniforms, floor mats, restroom and cleaning products to nearly 150,000 customers every week.
This truck, the first hydraulic hybrid in AmeriPride’s fleet of approximately 1,900 vehicles in North America, will achieve better fuel economy than the comparable non-hybrid vehicle because it captures, stores and re-uses the braking energy which is normally wasted in the conventional, non-hybrid vehicle. In addition, the hybrid is cleaner, emitting lower emissions and brake particulates, furthering AmeriPride’s clean operations and commitment to the environment.
“Testing this hydraulic hybrid is a part of a larger company initiative to reduce energy consumption and our carbon footprint,” said Brian Keegan, SVP of Plant Operations and Supply Chain for AmeriPride Services and Canadian Linen. “Last year our company launched a pilot program to test compressed natural gas, propane and plug-in electric vehicles in an effort to positively impact the environment and assess the impact on the company’s overall operations.”
The company has already replaced many of its cargo vans with fuel-efficient sedans and reconfigured most of its service routes to reduce mileage. It has also incorporated better internal controls to reduce idling and speeding and implemented better training and communication with drivers to increase awareness and promote behavioral change. AmeriPride also acquired several double-decker semi-truck trailers that have twice the cargo capacity and will greatly reduce fuel and emissions.
Outfitting with hybrid hydraulics
The system from Lightning Hybrids, Loveland, Colo.,was installed at the Morgan Olson facility in Sturgis, Mich. Morgan Olson supplies more walk-in van to the textile rental industry than any other manufacturer in North America. Larry Palmer, Morgan Olson’s Director of Fleet Sales states: “More large fleets are interested in these new fuel saving technologies, and Morgan Olson is leading the way to incorporate these systems into our walk-in van builds. We’ve built our legendary walk-in vans on every new technology from electric to CNG (compressed natural gas) and propane, and we believe hydraulic hybrids are another way to reduce emissions and increase fuel savings. We’re looking forward to working with Lightning Hybrids and our loyal partners at AmeriPride.”
Lightning Hybrids designs and manufactures hybrid systems for medium and heavy duty fleet vehicles. The system provides fuel efficiency by regenerating braking energy, provides safer braking and more power for acceleration, and decreases greenhouse gas emissions. The Lightning Hybrids system does not have any batteries, instead safely and efficiently storing energy mechanically in composite hydraulic accumulators, which are a fraction of the cost and weight of batteries.
The composite accumulators, manufactured by Steelhead Composites, Golden, Colo., consist of an aluminum tank wrapped with spun carbon fiber, a rubber compression bladder and ports for fluid flow. The carbon fiber shell is about one fourth the weight of the industry-standard steel shell of equal size. For example, 15-gal carbon fiber accumulator weighs 115 lb, whereas a 15-gal steel accumulator weighs 465 lb. The system can be installed on new vehicles or retrofitted on vehicles already in service. It is sold through a network of dealers and upfitters.
“We are very excited to launch this project with AmeriPride and Morgan Olson,” stated David Brosky, Vice President of Sales for Lightning Hybrids. “Both companies are proving to be very committed and engaged early adopters of our hybrid technology and they both share our strong commitment to improve the energy efficiency and lower the emissions of vocational trucks.”
Lightning Hybrids currently has several systems operating in fleets around the world and expects significant growth in the next quarter and beyond. The system is made and assembled in Loveland, Colo. at Lightning’s advanced manufacturing and engineering facilities. For more information, visit www.lightninghybrids.com.
Click here to see a list of more than a dozen hyperlinks to articles we've published on hybrid hydraulic systems from Lightning Hybrids.
Click here to visit Lightning Hybrids's YouTube channel.