Thursday, November 8, 2018

Green Machine: New plug-in hybrid work truck helps reduce our carbon footprint

Truck is the first purchased by a Washington state agency

By Barbara LaBoe

Look out charging stations, we have a new truck that may be coming your way. In September we became the first state agency in Washington to purchase a plug-in hybrid work truck, a major step in our continuing efforts to reduce our carbon footprint.

Until now, most electric vehicles have been smaller, passenger cars. Electric trucks have been slower to be developed and come to market, meaning agencies with significant construction or maintenance work – and equipment – weren't able to easily switch out to the greener technology. Hybrid trucks like this are an important step for our managers and crews.
This F-150 was recently added out to our fleet, making us the first agency
in the state to purchase a hybrid plug-in work truck.

The new Ford XL F-150 light-duty truck will be used in all areas around the state including maintenance, construction and project engineering. We expect to get 21 miles per gallon with the new truck – a 50 percent increase in mpg compared to a traditional work truck – with no additional maintenance requirements. And because it's a hybrid, the truck can be dispatched anywhere in the state with no range concerns, and then be plugged in to charge at its work location. The battery pack assists acceleration for the first 90 miles of travel and then switches to battery regeneration for the rest of the route.

A company called XL Fleet builds the plug-in hybrid system that is added to a standard Ford F-150 light duty truck. It includes a 15-kwh liquid-cooled lithium ion battery pack housed in the truck bed as well as two cooling radiators and electric traction motor added to the rear driveshaft. The truck has a 3.3-liter V-6 and six-speed transmission with auto stop-start and regenerative braking. It can be charged using a standard J1772 charging port for Level 1 or Level 2 charging.
The charge port was place on the rear of the truck near the license plate because
many work trucks are typically backed in to parking spaces.

The battery pack does take up some of the truck bed, but a slide out drawer for tools has been added in front of the battery to make the best use of space. A canopy also will be added, providing storage for items that can sit on top of the battery cover. The battery pack weighs 700 pounds, allowing the truck to still carry 1,200 pounds of payload.

A standard light-duty truck costs $29,912; the additional cost for the hybrid features is $23,000. Based on the 50 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, we estimate the payback period for the hybrid option is eight years. The typical agency lifespan for this type of truck is 12 years.

This is another step in our continuing efforts to replace the agency's conventional vehicles with electric, plug-in hybrids or hybrid vehicles to meet both agency and state goals of a green, environmentally friendly fleet. Switching to these types of vehicle helps reduce our carbon footprint and emissions while still allowing our crews to carry out vital work.

The battery is housed under a steel plate which also includes a pull out tool drawer to maximize storage.
A canopy also will be included to allow for more storage.

In addition to the hybrid truck our agency has:
  • 45 Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (Chevrolet Volts) (PHEVs)
  • 20 all electric vehicles (Chevrolet Bolts) (EVs)
  • 100 hybrids
Light-duty trucks like this make up a significant percentage of our gas-burning fleet, so we're excited to test this new technology and add more of these to our fleet if they function as expected.

11 comments:

MarkM said...

Great to see you doing this! Not only does it lead to savings but it demonstrates to the public the direction we need to be moving, and that utilitarian vehicles can be included in thinking about energy efficiency. Hopefully Ford will pick up on this as well and bring down the price of conversion. And perhaps WSDOT will begin to put in charging stations for the public on state highways for those of us who'd like to go all-electric.

WSDOT said...

Thank you, we’re excited about the possibilities of this new vehicle. Here’s some information about our work on Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Funding/Partners/EVIB.htm

RusM said...

So it gets worse gas mileage combined than a regular 2.7L turbo? Great! And substantially worse gas mileage than the diesel option? Amazing! What is the price premium over the regular model?

Sundevil_99 said...

My 5.0 L 2017 F 150 4x4 supercrew gets 16 to 18 hwy. I wouldn't consider this a huge benefit yet. Not until you get batteries smaller. I bet towing in this is poor as well. This doesn't offer much more than the Volt at this point.

MarkM said...

If they get the 21 mpg it will considerably above what actual tests show. Even the 4x2 only gets 17-19mpg in the real world. And if used for shorter trips they can increase the real world effiency as well.

Unknown said...

What are you comparing, an old F-250 with a V-10 or 460. A 2010 F150 SuperCrew Cab has 15/21 mpg rating. A 2019 is 20/26, Ford switched to aluminum bodies and saved 700 lbs plus on each truck which results in some of that improvement. So it seems that there must be some errors in the calculations or WSDOT is wasting money to look green. I suspect that some of the poor reported mileage is due to the extended time spent idling at job sites with the heat on. How will the hybrid system provide the same service as it is waste engine heat that is heating the truck?

Unknown said...

Green thinking is blind to cost/benefit analysis. This is a total waste of money. You don't need a big F150 anyway. Seems to me a light duty truck with a much higher MPG would be better for most uses. Why don't you compare the cost to operate a light duty truck with that "green" money gobbler. Can't wait for the day when we have a Hanford like "lithium toxic battery dump site". Don't forget to take a look at a lithium mine to see just how green it has made the site.

WSDOT said...

RusM,
A standard light-duty truck costs $29,912; the additional cost for the hybrid features is $23,000. Based on the 50 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, we estimate the payback period for the hybrid option is eight years. The typical agency lifespan for this type of truck is 12 years.

WSDOT said...

Sundevil_99,
This is a proof of concept vehicle where the battery power assists the conventional motor in the XL Plug-in Hybrid truck. These vehicles must be able to tow various trailers and have a pickup bed to haul materials to work sites, or debris off the highway. A sedan like the Volt would be unable to perform the mission of our highway maintenance work trucks.

WSDOT said...

Dear Unknown whose comment began with "What are you comparing, an old F-250...,"
We are comparing apples to apples. Our 3.5 Liter V6 F150s currently average 17.6 MPG and, to date, our hybrid 3.3 Liter V6 F150 is getting 26.1

WSDOT said...

Dear Unknown whose comment began with "Green thinking is blind...,"
We have over 1,400 pickup trucks in the fleet statewide, ranging from light duty pickups (Ford Ranger or Chevy S10) to full size 1 ton pickups with service bodies. There is no “one size fits all” pickup, and we size our engines and payload capacities in accordance with the expected duties of the truck.

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