NREL installs Lightning Hybrids hydraulic braking system on shuttle buses

Wednesday July 20, 2016 0 comments Tags: Loveland, Boulder, NREL, Lightning Hybrids, Tim Reeser, Matt Ringer


LOVELAND -- The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory  (NREL), the only U.S. federal laboratory dedicated to renewable energy and energy efficiency research, development, and commercialization, has installed its second fuel-efficient, hydraulic hybrid system on a passenger shuttle bus for the lab’s 632-acre campus in Golden.Lightning_Hybrids_logoUSE

The hydraulic hybrid system, made by Loveland-based Lightning Hybrids, is now running on two of NREL’s campus shuttle buses. The hybrid system makes the buses cleaner, more fuel efficient and improves their braking efficiency.

The first Lightning Hybrids bus has been in service on NREL’s campus for more than a year, and the second bus went into service last month, Lightning Hybrids said.

The buses, both Ford E-450s, are run by MV Transportation, NREL’s service provider for their shuttle service. MV transports more than 500 NREL employees and visitors around the campus.

“We are very proud of the fact that NREL, which represents the best of the best in federal research into sustainable vehicle technologies, has selected the Lightning Hybrids system,” said Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning Hybrids.

“The team at NREL tests vehicle technologies, and they have very high standards. To have NREL use our Lightning Hybrids product to serve their campus and their team is an endorsement of the quality and engineering of our hydraulic hybrid system.”

NREL works with public and private organizations to research and develop innovative vehicle and sustainable technologies to reduce dependence on fossil fuels to improve U.S. energy security as well as air quality.

“NREL has been happy to utilize its campus shuttles to help Lightning validate the performance of their technology,” said Matt Ringer, NREL’s commercialization program manager. 

“Working with a local company to help them grow their business while at the same time advancing our mission of sustainable transportation development has made this project very rewarding for the Lab.”

The Lightning Hybrids system 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.

In 2015, Lightning Hybrids received the top honor at the Industry Growth Forum hosted by NREL in Denver. The event brought 30 emerging cleantech industry company finalists from a field of 115 to present their technologies and business models to a panel of investor judges.

Each company was graded on factors including the quality of the product, market, business model and team.

The Lightning Hybrids’ presentation, delivered by Reeser, showed how the company’s hydraulic hybrid system for medium and heavy-duty vehicles has strong global market opportunities and provides benefits to a large and diverse group of stakeholders by providing fleets with a way to run cleaner and more efficient vehicles.

“This was the sixth year that we have applied to present at the forum and the first year to be a finalist and have a chance to present,” Reeser said.

“We were thrilled to be honored with the Best Venture Award. It was a validation of our team’s hard work, talent, and ingenuity, and our investors were quite pleased, as well.”