Peapod, an online grocer, took delivery of its first two fuel efficient, hydraulic hybrid delivery trucks this month. The vehicles, existing Workhorse walk-in vans with GM gasoline engines and equipped with the Lightning Hybrids Energy Recovery System (ERS), are in service on the streets of Chicago and were partially paid for by the Drive Clean Chicago voucher program for clean vehicles.
The trucks, the first hydraulic hybrids in Peapod’s fleet of approximately 130 vehicles in the Midwest, are expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption, reduce brake maintenance costs and cut emissions for cleaner air in the neighborhoods where Peapod delivers.
Lightning Hybrids’ ERS is ideal for medium and heavy duty fleet vehicles. It uses composite accumulators to store hydraulic energy. These lightweight designs are a fraction of the cost and weight of batteries used on electric hybrids.
“Peapod, by design, is a green company,” said Claudia Fikert, transportation fleet administrator, Midwest Region, Peapod, LLC. “Every Peapod truck on the road eliminates the need for an average of 20 passenger vehicles to drive to the grocery store. The addition of these hydraulic hybrid trucks to the Peapod fleet further increases the benefit and reduces our carbon footprint. The Drive Clean Chicago voucher program made it easy for us to add the Lightning Hybrids system to our mix of effective ways to reduce emissions, as well as increase fuel efficiency and make Peapod a better neighbor in the communities we serve.”
The Lightning Hybrids system was installed at the Advanced VTech facilities in Buffalo Grove, Ill. “The ERS system that we installed offers a quick return on investment due to outstanding fuel and brake savings,” said Ron Sheble, vice president of finance for Advanced VTech. “We retrofitted the hydraulic hybrid system to standard Peapod delivery vehicles with minimum downtime. We expect emissions to be reduced by 50%, and the vehicles now have more power for acceleration and smoother braking.”
“We are very excited to launch this project with Peapod and Advanced VTech, and to have the support of the Drive Clean Chicago voucher,” said David Brosky, vice president of sales for Lightning Hybrids. “Our ERS is perfect for Peapod’s urban and suburban routes and will lower their fuel costs. The Drive Clean Chicago voucher program provides a strong incentive for fleets that may be on the fence about trying a different technology.”
The Lightning Hybrids ERS on a Peapod vehicle was unveiled at the Lake Michigan Clean Cities Consortium’s Green Drives Conference and Expo this week in Naperville, at which nearly 250 attendees learned about steps they can take to make their fleets less reliant on petroleum, cleaner with lower emissions, and more fuel efficient.
“The new vehicle that Peapod and Lightning Hybrids debuted today is an example of the innovative solutions being implemented by our Clean Cities member fleets,” said Joe Koenig, communications manager, Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition. “Today, we had 40 environmentally friendly vehicles showcased at our Green Drives Conference, and 25 exhibitors featured their technologies for green transportation.”
Peapod’s hydraulic hybrids are on the road in Chicago now. Lightning Hybrids currently has systems operating in fleets around the world with orders for more in Chicago and Massachusetts in the next month. The ERS is made and assembled in Loveland, Colorado at Lightning Hybrids’ advanced manufacturing and engineering facilities.