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Wal-Mart Testing Hybrid Trucks, Alternative Fuels


Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores announced Monday it will test two new types of heavy-duty commercial hybrid trucks and two different alternatively fueled heavy-duty trucks as part of the company's efforts to build on its progress in developing a more sustainable trucking fleet.

"In order to meet our goal of doubling our fleet efficiency, we are taking an active role in the development of these technologies," said Chris Sultemeier, senior VP of transportation for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "We look forward to determining if these technologies will help reduce our environmental footprint, are viable for our business and provide a return on investment."

Wal-Mart achieved more than a 25% increase in efficiency within its private fleet between 2005 and 2008, surpassing one of the company's stated sustainability goals. By reaching this goal, Wal-Mart has been able to reduce its carbon-dioxide emissions and its fuel use. This goal was reached by using a combination of new, innovative technologies, better delivery routes and by loading its trailers more efficiently. Now, the company is working toward its goal of doubling its fleet efficiency by 2015, from its 2005 baseline. Part of this pilot program is to determine if alternatively fueled trucks can help move Wal-Mart toward that goal in addition to reducing environmental impacts.

The trucks Wal-Mart will test include a full-propulsion ArvinMeritor hybrid that will initially operate in the Detroit area. This dual-mode diesel-electric hybrid is believed to be the first vehicle of its type. Others include:

  • Fifteen trucks operating in the Buckeye, Ariz. distribution center near Phoenix, will be converted by the Environmental Development Group to run on reclaimed grease fuel, made with the waste brown cooking grease from Walmart stores. In addition, the remaining trucks located in the Buckeye DC will operate on an 80/20 blend of biodiesel made of reclaimed yellow waste grease;

  • Five Peterbilt Model 386 heavy-duty hybrid trucks with diesel-electric hybrid power systems developed by Eaton Corp. and PACCAR, that will be based in Dallas; Houston; Apple Valley, Calif.; Atlanta; and the Washington, D.C./Baltimore regions and;

  • Four Peterbilt Model 386 trucks, and one yard truck which operates only on the DC property, will operate on liquid natural gas. These trucks are part of a partnership with the Mojave Air Quality Management District and will operate out of the DC in Southern California.

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