Colorado State University vehicles use hydraulic hybrid drivetrains

Colorado State University vehicles use hydraulic hybrid drivetrains

As it moves ahead with its hydraulic hybrid drivetrain system, Lightning Hybrids announced today that Colorado State University will retrofit two internal delivery trucks with its fuel-efficient hydraulic hybrid systems, paid for by a grant from the Colorado Energy Office (CEO). The vehicles — 2012 GMC trucks — are the first medium duty trucks to use a hybrid system. They will be put into delivery service on campus.

The systems will save CSU up to $1700 a year each in fuel and maintenance costs. The system delivers up to 40% improvement in fuel economy by regenerating braking energy, provides safer braking and more power for acceleration, and decreases greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.

This is the second major announcement by Lightning Hybrids, showing its vehicles in use in real-world applications. The firm announced last November that its system would be used on city buses.

Lightning Hybrids is run by two CSU alumni, Dan Johnson, CEO, and Tim Reeser, co-founder and president.

“We’re pleased to partner with our local university but even more so because we are alumni. In 1992, I participated in CSU’s alternative fuel vehicle teams as a mechanical engineering student and it is fun to be expanding upon those projects in real-world applications that can save fleets money as well as provide cleaner alternatives to traditional engines,” Reeser said. “We’ve tested the system on-road as well as in the lab, including CSU’s engines lab, and now we’re looking forward to working closely with CSU’s fleet to gather data on how the system is working in this real-world delivery truck use.”

“We’re happy to be working with a local company like Lightning Hybrids. I know I’ve been interested in this hybrid conversion from the moment I was introduced to it,” said Gene Stroh, transportation manager for CSU’s fleet. “The system is simple, yet very effective and should work well in the stop and go environment here on campus. We’re all looking forward to the results once the vehicles are put into service and used on a daily basis.”

"The Colorado Energy Office sees this project as a great opportunity to continue the state's efforts at making our fleet more efficient," said Tom Hunt, policy programs manager at CEO. "The fact that CSU selected Lightning Hybrids, a Colorado company, as the technology vendor provides further benefits as it supports Colorado innovation.

Lightning Hybrids has been working on the hydraulic hybrid system, made and assembled in Loveland, since September 2008. Other local entities, including the City of Loveland and the City of Greeley, have purchased or are in final negotiations to install systems in their fleets in the next few months. The Lightning Hybrid hydraulic system is available for heavy duty vehicles — work trucks, shuttle buses, utility vehicles — both new or retrofited to vehicles currently in fleets.

For more information about Lightning Hybrids, visit

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.