NREL Evaluates Performance of Hydraulic Hybrid Refuse Vehicles

Robert Prohaska

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


This highlight describes NREL's evaluation of the in-service performance of 10 next-generation hydraulic hybrid refuse vehicles (HHVs), 8 previous-generation (model year 2013) HHVs, and 8 comparable conventional diesel vehicles operated by Miami-Dade County's Public Works and Waste Management Department in southern Florida. Launched in March 2015, the on-road portion of this 12-month evaluation focuses on collecting and analyzing vehicle performance data - fuel economy, maintenance costs, and drive cycles - from the HHVs and the conventional diesel vehicles. The fuel economy of heavy-duty vehicles, such as refuse trucks, is largely dependent on the load carried and the drive cycles on which they operate. In the right applications, HHVs offer a potential fuel-cost advantage over their conventional counterparts. This advantage is contingent, however, on driving behavior and drive cycles with high kinetic intensity that take advantage of regenerative braking. NREL's evaluation will assess the performance of this technology in commercial operation and help Miami-Dade County determine the ideal routes for maximizing the fuel-saving potential of its HHVs. Based on the field data, NREL will develop a validated vehicle model using the Future Automotive Systems Technology Simulator, also known as FASTSim, to study the impacts of route selection and other vehicle parameters. NREL is also analyzing fueling and maintenance data to support total-cost-of-ownership estimations and forecasts. The study aims to improve understanding of the overall usage and effectiveness of HHVs in refuse operation compared to similar conventional vehicles and to provide unbiased technical information to interested stakeholders.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2015

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-5400-64825


  • fleet evaluation
  • hydraulic hybrid vehicle
  • performance evaluation
  • refuse vehicle


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