Hybrid powertrains on smaller vehicles like a Toyota Prius or Mercedes-Benz ML SUV may seem like a good idea to some, but the potential to apply that technology on medium and heavy duty truck applications is great. BAE Systems is tackling the technological barriers associated with making a heavy duty truck a hybrid in developing a parallel hybrid propulsion system.

Currently, the company has produced 3000 transit buses with a so-called HybriDrive series propulsion system. The technology works well with the buses because those vehicles usually operate at low speeds and frequently in stop-and-go conditions. What makes the new parallel hybrid system different is its ability to function at higher speeds and less frequent stops.

"The development of a parallel system is part of our strategy to broaden our HybriDrive product family to meet the growing worldwide need for more efficient transport and energy management," said Steve Trichka, vice president of power and energy management for BAE Systems. "Our HybriDrive parallel system is the perfect hybrid electric solution for vehicles that operate in diverse duty cycles beyond standard urban operational modes."

It's unclear how close the performance of a hybrid heavy duty vehicle is compared to a non-hybrid vehicle, but that's surely a concern on which BAE Systems will focus during its development. The technology is expected to be employed in vehicles in 2012.

Source: BAE Systems