Mack Trucks Inc recently received a $1.2 million contract through Southwest Research Institute to develop diesel hybrid electric technology that will ultimately be used in military and commercial vehicles. The majority of the work is to be performed at Mack Powertrain in Hagerstown MD.

The project involves designing a hybrid vehicle to be used for refueling operations at United States Air Force bases. The long-term goal is to develop heavy-duty trucks that operate on a combination of electricity and diesel fuel. Anticipated advantages of this hybrid electric technology include better fuel economy, longer engine and brake system service intervals, and reduced emissions.

A likely commercial use for the technology is a refuse hauler based on a Mack truck platform.

Mack Powertrain has already defined a prototype vehicle configuration, and in conjunction with partner Enova Systems Inc, initiated design work on the motor and drive electronics. The goal is to deliver a working prototype to the Air Force by March 2005.