Techno-Economic Analysis of Implementing Hybrid Electric Utility Vehicles in Municipal Fleets

PI: Will Northrop, Mechanical Engineering

The central aim of this project is to quantify fuel economy improvements by implementing hybrid electric utility vehicles in municipal fleets. Although municipal fleets are starting to implement hybrid electric vehicles for selected applications, fuel economy benefits and corresponding fuel cost savings are not always easy to determine. Further, with an increasing number of hybridized vehicles available on the market, comparing fuel economy benefits on the diverse driving cycles used by utility vehicle fleets is difficult. Both municipalities collect extensive in-use telemetry data from their fleet vehicles but analyzing large quantities of data is time consuming and labor intensive. Therefore, most county fleet managers often do not fully utilize available data to make vehicle purchasing or operational decisions. In this project, we will analyze utility vehicle data and build computer vehicle simulations of utility trucks with three powertrain types: conventional, charge sustaining hybrid, and charge depleting hybrid (plug-in). The research objectives of the project will be to: 1) determine what routes and duty cycles result in high fuel consumption, 2) determine which powertrain results in lower fuel consumption on chosen routes through vehicle simulation, and 3) determine the most cost effective powertrain choice for a given vehicle duty cycle through a techno-economic (TE) analysis. The TE analysis will be conducted to provide a quantitative and qualitative understanding of the impact of the hybrid technology has on lowering fuel costs and reducing environmental impacts in the Washington and Dakota County fleets.

AVL software to be used in project. 

Sponsor: Minnesota Local Road Research Board