Demonstration of a CNG-Hybrid Electric Super-Truck (CHEST)
Optimized hybrid-electric truck with a CNG range extender
In January 2020, Meritor Electric Vehicles, LLC. acquired a 100% ownership interest in Transportation Power, Inc. (now Transportation Power, LLC.). At a critical project review meeting held in April 2020, Transpower and Meritor informed staff that they have redirected technical resources away from this project towards commercialization of their integrated electric axle technology. In May 2020, a Stop Work Order was placed on the project to provide time to analyze options for project continuation or termination. In October 2020, the agreement was mutually terminated with all funds repaid; alternative options would have resulted in significant deviation from the original proposal.
The goal of this project was to develop and demonstrate a plug-in, compressed natural gas (CNG), hybrid-electric drayage truck that uses a heavily downsized natural gas engine to significantly extend the operating range. The project aimed to achieve greater than 70 miles of all-electric range with a smaller battery pack that would not require exceedingly high charge rates. Simulations and modeling would have informed subsystem selection and vehicle integration activities. The truck would have been designed to performance targets for gradeability, acceleration, local drayage routes, extended highway operation, and long haul routes. The truck would have been demonstrated in service on port drayage routes and extended highway routes to validate its ability to meet performance targets.
Range extended hybrid trucks can use smaller battery packs without compromising operating range. Charging smaller battery packs does not require exceedingly high charge rates or charge times, which can impact fleet operational flexibility. Demonstrating plug-in hybrid trucks with significant all-electric range can inform fleets on the benefits of transitioning from diesel to near-zero and zero-emission alternatives.
The plug-in hybrid configuration can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by allowing the CNG engine to operate at high efficiency conditions when recharging the battery. The electric drive system also enables regenerative braking. All-electric range can be leveraged to achieve zero emissions on short drayage routes and low speed operations in urban environments. The natural gas engine extends the vehicle range and provides flexibility for longer highway routes while maintaining low emissions.