Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, centered on Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley), the highest mountain in North America, has taken delivery of its first two hydraulic hybrid vehicles from Colorado-based Lightning Hybrids.
The shuttle buses, one a Chevrolet model and the other Freightliner, will transport park visitors along the 14-mile paved section of the scenic 92-mile long Denali Park Road at the entrance to the park. The road is the only road in the 6-million-acre park. It runs parallel to the Alaska Range and travels through low valleys and high-mountain passes.
“The National Park Service has a long-standing commitment to using advanced clean technology in their fleet vehicles,” said David Brosky, vice president for sales of Lightning Hybrids. “Our hydraulic hybrid systems work well in harsh environments, and will help the park service to reduce emissions and save fuel.”
“Visitors to the park will appreciate riding in our new environmentally friendly buses,” said Andrew Gertge, a commercial services specialist, Denali National Park. “They’ll enjoy a nice smooth ride, and we’ll have cleaner air for our visitors who are hoping to spot bears or caribou from our shuttle buses that travel along the road winding into the park.”
The system from Lightning Hybrids is a patented, parallel hydraulic hybrid system that has no electric batteries. Instead, it applies a hydraulic system to the driveline of a vehicle to regenerate braking energy. Hydraulic pumps and a lightweight accumulator brake the vehicle, store the braking energy, and then use that stored energy to provide power to the wheels. In doing so fuel is saved and harmful emissions are cut.
An executive order issued by the White House in March 2015 (Executive Order 13693, titled “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade”) calls for tougher goals for renewable energy in federal buildings and fleets. The National Park Service is leading the way by employing advanced technology in their fleets with the two hydraulic hybrids from Lightning Hybrids.
The buses were sold by Colonial Equipment Company on the GSA schedule. “We’re pleased to offer the Lightning Hybrids solution to our customers. It’s a good fit during a time when everyone is looking for clean transportation solutions like hybrids,” said Craig Combs, general manager at Colonial.