Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) introduced the front-engine ecoFRED hybrid diesel and electric chassis at the 46th Annual National RV Trade Show that wraps up today (Dec. 4) at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.
The company reported that the ecoFRED will provide “significant improvements” in fuel economy compared to traditional front-engine gas chassis.
Two companies – Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City, Iowa, and Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., Riverside, Calif. – displayed concept Class A motorhomes at the trade show that were mounted on the ecoFRED.
“EcoFRED was developed to address environmental concerns as well as fuel-savings opportunities that are important to our customers,” said Tony Sippel, RV product manager for the Gaffney, S.C., subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC.
Development of the chassis was in line with Germany-based Daimler AG’s “Shaping Future Transportation” global initiative that focuses on reducing engine pollutants and fuel consumption, according to Jonathan Randall, FCCC director of sales and marketing.
“Even in this down market, we are not inclined to rest on our laurels or wait for better times,” Randall said. “Instead, we’ve seized the opportunity and made strategic decisions to better position ourselves to serve our markets.”
The 27,000-pound GVWR chassis is equipped with a standard 300-hp Cummins ISB 6.7-liter diesel engine augmented by an Eaton automated manual transmission equipped with an HEV electric motor powered by 340-volt lithium-ion batteries that are constantly charged by the operation of the diesel engine.
The system seamlessly decides whether to use diesel, electric or both to power the chassis. An optional auxiliary power generator also is available.
“Depending on the vehicle load and power demands, the hybrid controller determines how much diesel engine power versus electric motor power is required for optimum efficiency,” Sippel said.